Hate graffiti discovered in dorms for second time in '05

by Beacon Staff • October 26, 2005

The words "F--- You, You Fagot [sic]" were found written on a poster hanging on a student's door.,"A message containing a prejudicial slur was found scrawled on the door of a residence hall at Emerson College last week. This is the second such incident in as many years, according to Emerson officials.

The words "F--- You, You Fagot [sic]" were found written on a poster hanging on a student's door.

The Emerson College Police Department has not released the identity of the room's residents, the room's location or any further details about the crime. Director of Public Safety William McCabe wrote in an e-mail to The Beacon on Oct. 21 that he would not comment on the incident because it is currently under investigation.

Dean of Students Ronald Ludman notified the student body of the occurrence in a campus-wide e-mail sent Oct. 20.

Despite a similar instance of a hate crime last spring, in which the racial slurs "mud shark" and "tar baby" were found written on the door of two students' room in the Little Building, Ludman said he finds this incident atypical of Emerson's atmosphere.

"I don't know what possessed someone to engage in this kind of behavior," Ludman said in an interview. "From my perspective, I think Emerson College is a fairly accepting and tolerant community."

Sean Garahan, a sophomore theatre studies major and co-president of the Emerson Alliance for Gays, Lesbians and Everyone (EAGLE), agreed that the Emerson community is an open-minded one, and that prejudice is unusual on the campus.

"I was shocked," Garahan said. "Now, since I've been here, there have been two crude and ignorant things like this at a school that purports to be so open and multicultural, open to all types of people."

Ludman said any punishment that would be applied in this incident would be decided once the case has been investigated more thoroughly.

"My recollection is that until last year, that kind of display of hateful graffiti had not happened for a couple of years," Ludman said.

According to Emerson Police Lieutenant Eric Schiazza, there have been nine reported hate crimes since 1995, including three incidents in 2001. Most of those nine involved hateful messages found on Emerson property.

Even with the most recent occurrences, Maggie Dayton, a freshman organizational and political communication major, said she is confident that Emerson is still a tolerant community.

"I was shocked," Dayton said. "We go to Emerson College, with this liberal atmosphere, and, especially with our homosexual community, I'm surprised to see this here. I think everyone is doing all they can to see that things like this don't happen again."

Garahan said that events such as Dragtoberfest, a cross-dressing celebration for students held in the Greene Theater last Friday, will continue to promote awareness of alternate lifestyles on the Emerson campus.

"The fact that we can have people doing drag, and having fun at the event, it's great that we can have it here," Garahan said. "In a lot of places, that's not culturally acceptable."

Anyone with information that may be helpful to the investigation is asked to contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 617-824-8640 or the Office of Public Safety at 617-824-8555.

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