Racist, antisemitic graffiti found on blackboard at North Carolina college, officials say

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DAVIDSON, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Davidson College community is grappling with what school officials called “racist and antisemitism graffiti” found recently on a blackboard.

According to Davidson College, the deplorable graffiti was found on a blackboard in an outdoor classroom that also appeared on social media.

“This act is threatening and an affront to the sense of community that binds us. At Davidson, all of us are called to honor the dignity and worth of every person,” Davidson College said in a released statement. “We value religious and racial diversity and inclusion, while we deplore racism and bigotry and advocate for a more just world.”

The Instagram account attributed the statement to College President Doug Hicks, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty Shelley Rigger, and Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Byron McCrae.

“It’s important that members of our community feel safe and supported on campus, including in parts of the campus that are open to all. Even though we know that racism and bigotry exist in our society, it is still shocking and distressing when they show up on campus in such a bold and aggressive way and with messages of violence,” Davidson College said in their statement. “This violation wounds people we love and value. We all need to recognize and respect their pain. We need to speak up to defend and support them and our values as a community.”

In another message to students, officials said Campus Police were investigating and stepping up their presence to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff.

“We will support the members of our community who feel targeted. Davidson College Campus Police are investigating and stepping up their presence to ensure the safety of our students faculty and staff,” the college stated.

The Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, Chaplain’s Office, and Counseling teams will be available to students who are seeking support, Davidson College said. Employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

In 2018, Davidson College posted on Twitter about the school community taking a stand against anti-Semitism, racism, and bigotry. In 2018, the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and Davidson College said they were investigating after an ROTC cadet’s apparent social media posts showing support for Neo-Nazis surfaced.

A group of Jewish students responded to the college’s statement, saying it failed to acknowledge prior incidents, like from 2018. They said the acts deserve a “proper reckoning,” and reads, in part:

We worry that this response has not recognized the real and persistent history of racism and antisemitism on Davidson’s campus. The statement treats the incident as isolated, ignoring the long history of the exclusion of Jews from Davidson’s faculty and student population. Further, the statement has no mention of the history of antisemitism at Davidson, including the Neo-Nazi incident that occurred on our campus four years ago.

We feel that it is wrong and dangerous to treat this weekend’s hate crime as separate from the larger history of Jew-hatred at Davidson. (As Jewish students, we can only write about the impact this has had on our community; we imagine there is a similar frustration among Black students who have also been directly targeted).

We ask that the college recognize the true breadth of the problem so that we can begin an honest conversation about Davidson’s past and about the efforts to make Davidson safe for Jews and other marginalized groups moving forward.

The recent hate crime — whether perpetrated by a Davidson student or not — should spark a proper reckoning. Discussing the incident and learning about the history of racism and antisemitism can equip students with the skills to prevent further hate crimes on our campus, even as antisemitism rises at the national level. …

We hope that in the coming days there will be a more active effort to support the communities targeted by this incident. There has been, to our knowledge, no effort to specifically reach out to Jewish students on campus. 

– Group of Davidson College Jewish students

The college has expressed guilt for various links to slavery. A month ago, plans were announced for a new sculpture and plaza that pays tribute to the enslaved and exploited workers who labored on the college’s campus.

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