Written by Onyx Hall, Staff Writer
Over fall break, there was an incident in Blackwell where someone wrote swastikas and sexually offensive language all over the doors and walls of the dormitory. We received an email about it and were told that the Furman Campus Police were “investigating” the incident. That is all of the information we had received; it has been over a week since the actual situation occurred.
This afternoon, Oct. 28., we were informed that the campus police have found the students responsible and that one “has been criminally charged with vandalism under South Carolina law.” The students say the purpose was “opportunistic and isolated.” One of my classmates made an interesting point that if the people doing this only wanted attention, they could have drawn something completely irrelevant, but they deliberately chose this symbol. The symbol represents an attempted genocide of an entire people and is still used today by people who call themselves Neo-Nazis, keeping the same hateful ideologies over fifty years later. Adolf Hitler used this symbol to represent his control when people whom he felt were inferior were not only put in death camps to be subject to starvation, dehydration, over-exhaustion and, maybe worst of all, gas chambers and human ovens, but he also made them feel inferior by pushing his “aryan” agenda in Germany at the time. Survivors of what we know as the Holocaust are still alive today, and there is an entire museum here in the United States dedicated to telling the horrific and tragic story of the Holocaust.
This situation is not being discussed heavily enough inside or outside of class. Only one of my five professors has brought it to the attention of the class. We received an email about what happened and that was it. Someone should have physically come to speak to the student body, faculty and staff and talked about what happened and what the course of action was going to be. An email does not bring enough awareness about something that was a hate crime on campus. Granted we finally received an update that gave information about what the punishment would be for these students. This is some progress, but I still think it should have been made more of an issue. My roommate even asked me why no one is talking about it. This was not someone just randomly vandalizing the school and putting some random images or words on people’s doors; they used a racist and hateful symbol to draw people’s attention.
The investigation concluded relatively quickly and I believe it is important that these students were charged with vandalism. It could have justifiably been considered a hate crime, but at least something was done.
This situation should be talked about more inside and outside of the classroom. Things like hate and racism can only be combated with awareness and education— how we promote “diversity and inclusion,” as it relates to the Furman Advantage.