Forum response to hateful language in Butte Hall


Butte Hall was vandalized with hate speech last week. Photo credit: Melissa Joseph

The College of Behavioral and Social Sciences held a forum for students and faculty alike to discuss frustrations and come up with solutions in response to an incident at Butte Hall late last week.

The building was vandalized with graffiti that included hate speech. Students and faculty were encouraged to attend the forum to express any feelings on the subject and discuss future solutions to prevent any further incidents.

Milton Lang, the vice president of student affairs, could not say specifically what had been written but described the scene. The seventh floor of Butte Hall had been the main target of the vandal(s).

The damage included:

  • Pictures of faculty posted with drawings on them
  • Whiteboards defaced and containing obscenities
  • Graffiti

Police are still investigating who is responsible and have released little other information. It is unclear if it was one person or more.

Emonnie Jones, the current senator for the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, spoke during the forum on different solutions to encourage diversity. She expressed her frustration with the discussion

Jones talked about how she felt some encouragement from faculty from the department showing up to the forum.

“All we really want is for people to have our backs,” Jones said.

The discussion lasted an hour and saw many faculty members show up even from outside of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Sharon Barrios, the interim dean of graduate studies, spoke on wanting to see a physical show of support for the communities that had been targeted in the vandalism. Barrios said holding a rally might show the community the unity they have with minorities.

Jones spoke on how she recognized that change was more institutional than anything and change wouldn’t be as fast as anybody hoped, but she was optimistic about the future.

“If it becomes a norm, it becomes as strong as a law.”

Nate Rettinger can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NRettinger19.