Bias-related vandalism was found in Schlosser Hall this past weekend. The events occurred in the middle of the night Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept. 18 on the second and third floors.
Racial slurs, a gendered insult and inappropriate drawings were found on white boards. Door decorations and bulletin boards were ripped down. Residents heard people running through hallways, knocking on doors and trying to turn doorknobs.
There was a floor meeting in the Schlosser lobby to discuss the incident Monday, Sept. 19. Even though it was not mandatory, the meeting was well-attended, showing that the Schlosser residents cared about what happened and wanted to help the community move forward.
Area Coordinator Cody Miller and Interim Coordinator of Multicultural Programs and Residential Communities Stephanie Collins provided details about what happened over the weekend and encouraged students to seek support if needed. Associate Dean of Students, Residence Life Director and Title IX Deputy Coordinator Allison Bridgeman was also at the meeting to talk to students about what happened and answer individual questions.
“Our hope and goal is to make sure the community is safe,” Miller said.
In order to prevent any further incidents from occurring, the RA’s and student patrol officers will continue to do regular rounds throughout the residence halls. Campus Security is closely monitoring the situation and is also willing to do building rounds. According to Miller, these three levels of security are in place so that the Schlosser community feels safe.
Campus Security is actively investigating the incident. If the responsible party is caught, security personnel would first try to get as much information as possible. Security would then give the information to the Office of Rights and Responsibilities.
This office would work with the students to determine appropriate sanctions. According to Miller, every bias-related event is taken seriously. “Regardless of intent, the impact may be significant,” Miller said.
Whenever an event such as this occurs, Miller believes that there are two crucial steps the college community must take. First, information must be given to Campus Security as soon as possible so that they can conduct a thorough investigation. There are several ways that students can report information they have about the event.
Students can reach out to their RA’s or contact Miller, Collins or Campus Security. Students who wish to remain anonymous can report information through the EC Hotline by calling (855)-696-1899.
The second step is to come together as a campus community. Students who feel threatened by the events or who want to talk about what happened can contact the counselor on call or visit Counseling Services in Suite 216 of the BSC.
“I recognize this incident may not directly affect you, but the impact can be significant for students who feel they are part of a targeted group,” Miller told the students at the floor meeting.
Collins believes that many incidents like this one stem from fear and a lack of understanding. Her office works to implement new programs to promote inclusion and bring the campus community together.
Already this year, the new diversity-themed Mosaic House is preparing to open and provide educational events for students from all backgrounds to gather.
As education and awareness increase, Collins hopes that the number of bias-related incidents will decrease.
Sophomore Renee Ciardullo heard knocking on her door late Saturday night and said she was glad that there would be a larger panel discussion about the incidents. This panel was held on Wednesday, Sept. 21, in Hoover 110 and was open to all members of the campus community.
“The best thing is to be as informed as possible and use the information to make the situation better for everyone,” Ciardullo said.
Sophomore Jenna Hansell heard about the events from her neighbors. Monday’s meeting was optional, but Hansell said she came anyway because students can’t disregard incidents like this. “Etown is a family, and this is not how a family would act,” Hansell said.
This is not the first time bias-related incidents have taken place on Elizabethtown College’s campus. Last year bias-related vandalism was found in Royer Hall, and the campus community worked together to move forward.
About 30 Etown students and faculty attended Wednesday’s panel. Collins and Director of Diversity and Inclusion Monica Smith opened the forum and moderated the discussion. Director of Campus Security Andrew Powell described the incident. Throughout the forum, attendees expressed their feelings about the vandalism and suggested ways for the campus to react to this event and any that occur in the future.
“We did the Six Word Stories last year because of a whiteboard incident,” Hansell said. “The stories were nice, but we don’t need a reason to do them again.”