Bias related incidents in Jones, Suffolk, Nassau Hall

Jones Residence Hall was one of the three halls subjected to bias-related incidents since March 29. In Jones specifically, a swastika was drawn in the second floor mens bathroom stall (Udeshi Seneviratne/ photo editor).

Between March 29 and April 1, bias-related incidents were reported in Jones, Suffolk and Nassau residence halls. 

Police Chief Thomas Kilcullen said that the bias-related incidents that occurred in each residence hall had an impact on the community.

“The first incident occurred in Jones Hall, and it was in a second-floor men’s bathroom stall. Someone had drawn a swastika on the stall and it was reported to us,” Kilcullen said. “Typically, when we respond, we document what has occurred and we do that through photographs. Then we remove it.”

In Suffolk Hall, someone had posted a piece of paper on a bulletin board that said, “white power” and “KKK” with a swastika, according to Kilcullen.

“The [resident assistant] who responded to the scene removed the poster, contacted our department and officers responded in the same response,” Kilcullen said. “We did an interview of the adjoining areas to see if somebody saw something, heard something, and that information was put into the report.”

In Nassau Hall, a resident posted a photo referencing blackface to their Snapchat. In each case, the Chief Diversity Office robbie routenberg was notified to diffuse the situation.

routenberg said that they communicated with the parties involved and coordinated with the campus to formulate responses to bias-related incidents. However, routenberg stressed that issues within residence halls are dealt with internally until they become campus-wide. 

“So programming, communication, conversations of support, accountability … these kinds of things are managed locally because the impact is local,” routenberg said. “Sometimes, when the impact is really campus-wide, such as the April 1 event, I’m more actively involved because it’s not limited in the same way to a specific sub-community, like a residence hall.”

routenberg said that educational opportunities and restorative communication are key to dealing with bias-related issues, such as resources for students in the REACH center. They also said that the diversity office is working with a new student group on campus, called Activists Fighting Racial Oppression, to deal with racial issues on campus.

“Students are exactly the right people … to be at the helm of providing community opportunities for education and for thinking about what we need to do to always be focused on vision and improving issues on our campus,” routenberg said.