Racial slurs lead to anti-hate initiative in Eastway

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“Hate Has No Home Here” painted by residents on the windows of Allyn and Clark Halls in early January. 

Sara Crawford

Last fall, racial slurs, specifically the N-word, were anonymously written on whiteboards in Allyn and Clark halls. Residents also reported hearing use of the word.

As these acts were continuing, the RAs and staff in these halls met to figure out how to handle the issue.

“We really only had two major or public ones … for us that’s two too many,” said Myriah Wiltrout, the residence hall director for Allyn and Clark. “We followed all our protocol, but at the end of the day, we don’t know who those people are, so it’s like we hit a dead end there if we don’t do something to respond.”

When slurs are found in a residence hall, the standard protocol is to take a picture and, if it was an act of vandalism, clean it up. The residence hall staff would then talk to the person who was responsible.

In this case, the person responsible is currently unknown.

In response to recent incidents, the RAs talked to residents at their first-floor meetings about the issue and introduced the Allyn and Clark social justice event.

This initiative will continue through the spring. Hall residents were given individual posters at the floor meetings with the event’s slogan, “Hate Has No Home Here.”

RAs painted the same message on the windows facing the Allyn and Clark courtyard.

They also created a bulletin board on the first floor explaining what microaggressions are and links to articles about the use of the N-word, its history and the grey area of who can say it.

“We decided ‘Hate Has No Home Here’ just felt right for the situation, in showing that Allyn and Clark wanted to be an inclusive community and that we didn’t want to have these slurs or microaggressions to be used in the halls,” said Amber Monigold, a sophomore hospitality management major and an RA in Allyn and Clark.

Monigold is part of the social justice committee in Allyn and Clark and discussed the idea of including more events on these issues.

“Students at Kent State come from all different backgrounds, and a lot of times it’s their first time away from home … their first time experiencing or seeing different cultures and different ways of life,” said Clara Varndell, an RA from Allyn and Clark who was previously on the committee. 

She said she wants to make sure students are open-minded, and that they “are not going to hate on certain people simply because of who they are or how they are.”

“We want to make sure that our residents are welcome here and we will continue to promote that,” she said.

The RA staff believed hanging these posters around the building would help create an inclusive community and make it clear that Allyn and Clark are accepting of all people, no matter their racial or ethnic background.  

“As Residence Services, it’s our job to make sure that they are finding their place here,” Monigold said. “…and I think social justice is how we make sure that we do.”   

Sara Crawford covers politics on campus. Contact her at [email protected]