Students at Saint Joseph’s University opened up the student newspaper website to an abrupt title on Wednesday: “Racial Slur Left on Students’ Dorm Room Door.”
The story, written by SJU senior Ana Faguy, details an event that happened in September in a freshman door. Faguy writes that two students, who are identified by initials C.L. and A.B., found their message board on their door rearranged to spell out a racial slur. The student who spelled out the slur was forced to apologize to the roommates, according to the article.
Now, after a seemingly minor punishment for the student responsible, the Saint Joe’s community is shocked.
“I’m saddened to see the lack of support SJU had for the victims and their families,” Jordan Stern, a freshman, said. “It’s heartbreaking to see the place I call home and love so much be in the spotlight in this manner.”
Students expressed similar concern to Stern. Another freshman, Hannah Roche, echoed Stern’s thoughts, saying she was “frustrated” by the response from the university.
“I think that it is a situation that was pushed under the rug,” another freshman, Olivia Cardarelli, said.
The shock has spread off campus, too, as alumni spread the article through social media and reacted to the story.
“I think it was upsetting for me to hear that not only did this happen, but how it was handled,” Samantha DiGiuseppe, class of 2016, said. “As an alumni I feel very lucky to have gone to a school that put a big focus on inclusion, and I always felt that presence when I was there. It’s very upsetting to me that two members of the Saint Joe’s community now feel uncomfortable and don’t feel the same level of inclusion I felt there.
Mark Reed, the president of the university, addressed the incident in an email to students.
“In the past, I have written to the campus community and shared that few instances bother me more than the harming or exclusion of others,” Reed wrote. “While I may not address our community each time there is the report of an incident, I am always aware, involved, and feel many of the emotions so many of you express: disappointment, confusion, frustration and a desire to make immediate change.”
Despite Reed’s email, students and alumni still feel outraged.
“To hear that the student who committed the act was essentially un-reprimanded, it seems like the school kind of swept the incident under the rug,” DiGiuseppe said.
Students from the Black Student Union will host a forum on Monday at 6 p.m. The forum is tentatively being held in the Forum Theater, but the location could change depending on the amount of interest.