Emily Chappell, USA Today, April 27, 2016
The students identified as the people behind a recent racist drawing found at Salisbury University’s library are black, school officials confirmed Tuesday.
The image, found April 10 on a whiteboard in Blackwell Library, showed a stick figure being hung and labeled with a racial slur. Underneath was the hashtag “#whitepower.”
The university confirmed Tuesday, April 26, the students involved in the incident were black, spokesman Richard Culver wrote in an email. The university would not provide names of the students, citing the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Since the incident, Salisbury University Police Department has completed its investigation, Culver said. In consultation with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, the department has decided to not file criminal charges at this time.
The investigation is being turned over to the university and will be reviewed for any possible university policy violations, Culver said. If charged, those students who were involved could face disciplinary action.
Matthew Jackson, a senior at the university, said whoever drew that image didn’t understand the severity of it, and the fact that people were actually lynched throughout history. And that’s an issue, he said.
“The main problem . . . was that someone thought it was a joke,” he added. “(It was) an act of immaturity.”
For that sort of image to pop up in this day and age, Jackson said, shows the disjoint of education. People don’t know what happened, or don’t know how severe it was. They don’t seem to understand slavery and racism are not something to make light of.
Jackson said he’s had contact with the administration and that there’s a hope to have a meeting in coming weeks about what happened, and the goals students have been working toward in education and diversity.
Just before Thanksgiving, the president called a meeting with minority student leaders to discuss race relations on campus. It’s a meeting that ended abruptly, with students reading a letter asking for more time, and walking out.
“As students of color, WE DO NOT point fingers nor cast blame for the lack of awareness and understanding in regards to the black experience here at Salisbury University, keeping in mind that racism and cultural segregation existed long before any of us stepped foot on campus,” the letter read.
“However, we refuse to deny that the current environment on campus takes a huge toll on the psyche of students of color affected by the subconscious oppression.”