UW-Platteville students targets of hate crimes
Racist graffiti on doors of black student leaders brings number of campus area incidents to 25
By Melissa Hanson Sunday, November 28, 2010.
Two University of Wisconsin-Platteville leaders of the Black Student Union found racist graffiti written on their homes late last Monday night, increasing the number of hate-based incidents the school has experienced to 25 this semester.
The UW-Platteville Black Student Union President Brittany Dupree and Vice President Darryl Meek both discovered their off-campus homes had been vandalized with derogatory words.
According to Meek, someone wrote profane racial slurs and direct threats on his own window and the front door to Dupree’s house.
UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields said there have been numerous cases of racist and homophobic graffiti on-campus since last spring.
According to Meek, many of these incidents have involved racist graffiti in dorms and vandalizing of student’s vehicles.
Shields said the incidents that took place Monday night targeted specific individuals and precautions were taken to make sure they were safe.
The students were temporarily moved to different locations, Shields said.
The UW-Platteville Police Department and the Platteville Police Department are investigating the off-campus crimes with the assistance from the FBI.
According to Shields, there have been no leads in either of the cases.
Meek said it is hurtful to have this incident happen, but it is not surprising considering the lack of response the administration has had regarding the other 23 incidents.
Meek said he is disappointed with how the university has handled the numerous cases of hate-based crimes that have occurred on campus.
Meek added he attributes the number of these crimes not just to the few people who have committed them, but to the campus atmosphere that has resulted from people terrorizing minority groups and getting away with it.
“It is the campus climate that allows this to happen,” Meek said.
Shields said there has clearly been a drastic increase in the amount of hate-based crimes within the past year.
The amount of crimes that have been committed on campus does not indicate the overall sentiment of students, Shields said.
“The perpetrators are the exception,” Shields said. “The overwhelming majority of students do not support these acts of racism.”
Shields added it is apparent that incidents like this are happening on other college campuses as well.
According to a statement released by the Chancellor’s Office, the university is offering a reward of $1,000 for any information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible for the crime.
“We are doing whatever we can to make sure our students are safe,” Shields said.
However, Meek said he did not believe the administration was doing enough to make students feel safe on campus.
Meek said students of color do not feel safe or welcome on campus and the school should be doing more to make sure that they are able to have an education free of fear.
Meek said he would like to see the university doing more to educate students on different ethnicities in order to change the campus climate.
According to a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, faculty members are planning on holding a rally for minority students on Tuesday afternoon.