Following the recent images painted on the graffiti wall near Bentley Hall, Ohio University students came together to discuss a plan of action to help prevent such events in the future.
OU’s Black Student Union collaborated with OU’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on Thursday at a meeting held in response to the messages painted on the graffiti wall.
The graffiti wall bore a mural depicting a hanged figure and the words “build the wall” on Tuesday. Students covered most of the mural with black paint, adding phrases such as “#blacklivesmatter” and “racism will not be tolerated here.”
More than 150 people and many student organizations were represented at the meeting.
The objective of the meeting was to go beyond discussion and devise a plan of action to combat racism, Jasmyn Pearl, a sophomore studying journalism, said.
“The purpose of this meeting was to alert other organizations of what our plan of action is in hopes that they will join us in furthering our requests,” Pearl, the vice president of BSU and the secretary of OU’s NAACP chapter, said.
Proposed items included an anti-hate speech clause in the student code of conduct, disciplinary measures, a "culture of inclusion" task force, diversity training and cultural competency courses at the university.
The joint invitation from OU's NAACP chapter and BSU to other student organizations was beneficial to the overall cause, Morgan Benson, a senior studying communication, said.
“I’ve been to so many of these meetings because these situations constantly happen, (so) I was happy they had an agenda and a plan of action of what they wanted to do, so we could come together and do these things as a team,” Benson said. “There’s power in numbers.”
OU President Roderick McDavis addressed racism on campus regarding a previous graffiti wall matter in December 2015, but Ryant Taylor, an OU alumnus, said he is skeptical of the university's willingness to make a change. Taylor said students need to take matters into their own hands.
“We need to do more of being in the streets and going out in large numbers because a lot of the reforms that were presented are good, but what are students going to do when the university says no?” Taylor said.
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An OU student was heard yelling racial slurs, including the N-word, through a megaphone on a weekend in January.
“People say, ‘We’re a Bobcat family,' ” Pearl said. “That’s not a family. My family doesn’t call me things like that … I believe we deserve an equal shot and a fair chance.”