Clark College investigates racially charged incidents on campus
After two incidents on campus, that both seemed to be racially charged, Clark College is taking steps to make sure students feel safe.
Campus security found five to six anti-Semitic flyers posted on exterior windows of Gaiser Hall, next to the student union. Thousands of students walk through there every day. Someone wanted their message seen.
"The posters were specifically anti-Semitic in terms of what really they were doing is assigning social problems to the Jewish people, which is obviously problematic," said Chato Hazelbaker, a spokesperson for Clark College.
Many students were stunned, saying their campus is diverse.
"This is upsetting that this is happening at my own school," said Megan Hess, a student at CC. "There's so many different people in my classroom and people usually get along when I'm around, but I don't know. When you see it, you see it and when you don't, you don't think it happens."
"I've never really seen any of that here. I've always heard about it, but I've never really seen it," said Justin Cyr, a sophomore at CC.
Even the local Jewish community is surprised. Rabbi Shmulik Greenberg, of the Chabad Jewish Center, says in the 15 years he has lived in Vancouver, he's never experienced racism.
"We just need to continue life because just to hide is not going to solve the problem," he said. "The way to battle it is do random acts of goodness and kindness."
Hazelbaker says the school is 33 percent diverse. Some students say the racism is there.
"I walk around and there's people being racist to other black people like on the sidewalks," said Alexandra Rio, a sophomore at CC.
It happened last week when a black student walked across the street from campus, a group of people called her a racial slur.
The school sent an email to students and faculty informing them of what happened:
This morning anti-Semitic messages were posted on the exterior of Gaiser Hall. Unfortunately, this fits a pattern of increasingly aggressive forms of racism at the college. These fliers come after a week in which racist slurs were shouted at one student and a racist message was sent to another. The perpetrators of these actions do not appear to want to dialogue about these issues but instead have resorted to actions intentionally meant to sow discord at the college. Rather than participate in a dialogue they have chosen to attempt to bully members of our community. These will require us to stand together as a community to make it clear that we are inclusive and will not allow hate to take hold here.
Racist attacks on our students and anti-Semitic fliers cannot exist within an inclusive environment. These are acts of exclusion with a long history of hateful, racist, and genocidal actions. It will take all of us committing ourselves to anti-racism and diversity to assure that our students, colleagues, and community are secure and that the campus is moving toward equity.
The Office of Diversity and Equity will soon announce a community forum to take place this Thursday, March 22nd and other activities to explore the intent and impact of continuing acts of hatred at our college. We need everyone in our community working together to assure that those expressing hate do not succeed in spreading that hate in our community.
Please take a bit of time today to reach out to those whom you care about and let them know that we are all in this together. Penguins form protective communities when their environment turns harsh. We can do the same. Penguins united can never be divided.
If you see something and are unsure of how to respond, please call the Office of Diversity and Equity at 360-992-2757 or contact Security at 2133 for guidance.
The school's Office of Diversity and Equity will host a community forum on campus on Thursday at 2 p.m.