By: Hayley Holloway, Staff writer
Lebanon Valley College saw two racially-based incidents occur on campus over a few days in November.
Sometime between Nov.12 and 13, about a dozen flyers stating “ARE YOU SICK OF ANTI-WHITE PROPAGANADA IN COLLEGE? YOU ARE NOT ALONE” with a biased website at the bottom were hung on several buildings on campus.
“Public Safety staff found these postings as they were opening the campus buildings and immediately removed all that they found,” Brent Oberholtzer, LVC’s director of public safety, said.
The second incident was discovered around noon on Nov. 14. Residents of the Women’s Services and Gender Resource Center found “N—ERS#TRUMP” written on their house.
The Annville Police Department, Pa. Crime Investigation Center, Pa. Human Relations Commission and student affairs administration are involved with the investigations.
The first incident has not yet been directly tied to a protected class of citizen, but the second incident was more than simple vandalism.
“I consider the Women’s Center incident a hate crime due to the race/ethnicity of the students who reside in that building,” Oberholtzer said. “I will classify as such in my Clery Reportable [Crimes] data for the Dept. of Education.”
There is currently no information as to who is behind these incidents. The Student Conduct Process would determine the punishment if the incident were to be adjudicated on campus. If police charge those responsible, that person or persons would be charged with “ethnic intimidation,” a misdemeanor of the third degree, with up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
These incidents caused a mix of emotions and reactions from students, administration, faculty, staff and community members. The march on Nov. 16 was planned after the vandalism at the WSGRC.
Tamara Baldwin, a junior sociology major, lives at the WSGRC this year and was the first person to find the vandalism. She first reported the vandalism to Renata Williams, Director of Intercultural Affairs and Inclusive Programs, along with another student living at the house.
“I was just shocked for literally probably about a second,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin’s shock did not last long. She has experienced racism on campus before the vandalism.
“It’s not something that’s new to me here, like it wasn’t unfamiliar,” Baldwin said. “That wasn’t the first time that I’d been addressed, or that that word has been directed towards me since I’ve been on this campus. I can think of three distinct moments where it happened each year that I’ve been here.”
Baldwin needs more time to decide whether she believes that the administration and student body responded satisfactorily to the vandalism and racism on campus.
“I’m not going to say whether I was satisfied or not yet because that was just one small speck of anything that actually needs to be done on this campus,” Baldwin said. “The true measure of whether it [the march] was a successful event will occur in how the administration moves forward, how the student body moves forward from this. But I don’t think showing up to the march necessarily was an indicator of true change on this campus.”
If anyone has a lead as to who is behind either incident, he or she is encouraged to report it to Public Safety. If a person is hesitant about making a report, he or she may leave an anonymous report on LVC’s Campus Conduct Hotline, available at http://www.lvc.edu/public-safety/index.aspx