UPDATE: 3/22/14, 1:00 p.m. --On March 21, the Grand Valley State University police department issued a statement regarding the incident described below. After an investigation, it determined that "the person believed to be responsible for the drawing and language written on the dry erase board is a Grand Valley student and the owner of the message board." Read the full statement here.
Grand Valley State University campus police are investigating an act of racial intimidation allegedly committed in a university dorm on Sunday evening or Monday morning.
The Associated Press reports that racist slurs and a drawing of a person being hanged were found on a whiteboard attached to the door of a black student's dorm room at the university, located in Allendale, Mich., roughly 15 miles west of Grand Rapids. A disparaging remark about Black History Month also was written on the board.
(Scroll down to see what is purportedly an image of the whiteboard. Warning: the photo contains explicit language and may be offensive to some readers.)
Campus police and university housing staff are looking for a perpetrator, GVSU Dean of Students Bart Merkle told MLive. If a student is discovered to be the perpetrator, he or she could face discipline under the university justice system. The case could also be forwarded to the Ottawa County Prosecutor's Office, which would decide whether to recommend criminal charges.
According to MLive, Merkle declined to confirm whether one or two African-American students live in the dorm room, but he said the student(s) were offered counseling.
“They’re scared and nervous and pretty outraged that somebody would treat them that way,” Merkle told MLive.
The university has said it is taking the threats seriously:
— Grand Valley State (@GVSU) February 17, 2014
Other students at GVSU, which has a black student population of 5.17 percent, according to Forbes, shared their frustrations on Twitter:
#GVSU when will you notice that the minority students are still dealing with racism, all ethnicities have to deal with it
— Lazy Laz (@lazdalyrical1) February 18, 2014
This image said to be of the whiteboard at GVSU has been shared widely on Tumblr and Twitter:
— ! (@NoChillNell) February 17, 2014