A series of offensive behavior has occurred at the University of West Florida in the past week, first with the discovery of two nooses on campus, and then racial slurs targeting specific individuals were found written across the walls of Argo Hall dormitory.
Officials are unsure if the two incidents are related but are still investigating the matter.
The incident at Argo Hall was discovered on April 19 at around 8 a.m by the hall’s janitorial staff.
The incident consisted of discriminatory remarks, along with a drawing, and more slurs across a bulletin board that contained photos of several resident assistants.
“I feel these remarks were offensive, ignorant and childish,” said Bernadette Verdule, resident in Argo Hall.
“We are college students of age and should not be behaving in this manner.”
Brandi Crews was working as the Student Desk Assistant in the hall when the comments were discovered.
“The drawing and the words targeted both our wonderful janitorial staff and our hard-working RA’s,” she said. “These actions have hurt Argo Hall and have been found offensive to the majority of our community. I’m hoping Argo’s community will come together and raise awareness to the hateful, offensive things going on throughout campus.”
A seminar was held in the lobby of Argo Hall the night of the incident to discuss how to handle discriminatory behavior.
“The program was ‘Debrief on Diversity,’ where residents were able to get together and talk about how the incidents have been making them feel, what they would like to see as a response to the incidents, and to bring everyone together to make sure that they know this type of behavior is not okay and is not a UWF value,” resident assistant Lerren Tyler said. “It’s important that residents understand that there are things being done to try to get to the bottom of the situation and that if they feel in any way uncomfortable or unsafe, there are plenty of people they can go to.”
The investigation regarding the remarks is ongoing, but so far nobody is quite sure who made the slurs. UWF Chief of Police John Warren asks that students, faculty and staff report any suspicious behavior on campus to the police station.
Warren also encouraged the use of the safety programs that UWF provides free of charge.
“We have a safety escort service available anytime,” Warren said. “We also have over 50 blue lights phones on campus providing communication with the police.”
Any information regarding these incidences should be reported immediatley.
“If you see something, say something,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin Bailey in an email to all students following the event. “If you have any further information regarding these incidents, please contact University Police at 850-474-2415. You may also submit information anonymously online at www.uwf.edu/uwfpolice.