Symbols of hate found on campus

Chris Bird, News Editor

On Aug. 8, a swastika and offensive writings were found graffitied in one of the restrooms in Madison College. Many of those in the community are here in the Fall and Spring, and even someone who was here this summer may not have noticed this happen. The reason for this is that the issue was dealt with within 24 hours, and though most did not likely notice this act, the President of Madison College put out a statement to faculty and staff that some may find reassuring.

Dr. Jack Daniels III, President of Madison College, sent out a statement speaking out against the offensive graffiti and sharing his thoughts on the matter.

“The swastika, a symbol of racism and bigotry, was found in one of our restrooms. Symbols can be as destructive as (and seen as) acts of violence without any outward expression of a physical or verbal assault. Additionally, offensive racial writings were found which also is an act of violence. The swastika and the offensive writing were removed immediately. When acts of violence occur – verbal, non-verbal, physical assaults – the College will act appropriately to ensure that our values are upheld and are secure,” Dr. Daniels wrote.

The core values of Madison College that Dr. Daniels refers to are excellence, respect, commitment to students and diverse communities, and making higher education available to all. Dr. Daniels stated that it is easy to understand when to speak out against something when you have a strong understanding of your values and what your mission is. This act went against the values of Madison College.

Dr. Daniels elaborated on his statement that this was destructive, and could be seen as an act of violence, by saying that this act “is an assault on individuals, on morality, an assault on culture, an assault on historical perspective.” Dr. Daniels viewed this act as a deliberate attempt to undermine what Madison College stands for. “We have to treat it as it is. And call it out as it is,” he said.

While incidents like this don’t occur at Madison College often, with this type of act only happening once before in the almost seven years Dr. Daniels has been president of the college. He believes that it is important to talk about issues such as this incident. It can be hard to find the right time to talk about such things, but Dr. Daniels had a community member suggest that maybe this is the sort of issue that could be talked about in the classroom, where students already share in open discussion. “The issues that we are presented with are not discipline specific, they cross all disciplines,” said Dr. Daniels. It is the individuals in the classrooms that are affected. Discussion between members of the Madison College community about issues that matter to its members can only help promote understanding, and hopefully prevent acts like this in the future.