Fordham University Senior Melissa Wright Finds Racial Epithet Scrawled on Her Door

Corinne Lestch, NY Daily News, March 5, 2012

Melissa Wright came home to her Fordham University dorm last month to find the N-word scrawled across her door in black permanent marker.

“It was just disbelief,” said Wright, a senior at the Rose Hill, Bronx, campus, who is black. “The longer I saw it, it was really hurtful.”

The slur was sanded over, but the door was not repainted until nine days later, Wright said, an example of the university’s weak response to bias incidents.

“The university thinks this is an isolated incident, when in reality, students of color feel isolated every day,” said Wright.

In fact, on Friday, the N-word was again found on campus, this time scratched into a patch covering a hole in the wall of a men’s bathroom.

In an email to the campus 10 days after the earlier incident, the university administration stressed it has zero tolerance for bias.

“Many within our community have expressed understandable concern over this incident,” wrote Jeffrey Gray, senior vice president for student affairs. “Staff, faculty, students and student leaders have expressed similar sentiments, which I will reinforce here: there is no place in our community for behavior of this nature.”

But African-American students—who make up about 5% of the Jesuit school’s population—say not enough is being done. More than 200 students plan to hold a rally on campus this week demanding changes to the university’s bias policy.

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