MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Tensions over racial discrimination and a perceived lack of diversity have reached a boiling point on the campus of St. Olaf College after a racist note was found on a female student’s car Saturday night.
“Last night was just a wake-up call for the school to realize that the system has been racist for quite a long time,” said student Olivier Mabiala.
Typed out in black and white and shared dozens of times on social media, the message reads: “I am so glad you are leaving soon. One less n—– that this school has to deal with. You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up.”
According to the St. Olaf student newspaper, this message is the seventh reported act of hate speech on campus this year and the second message targeting a specific student.
The latest note prompted hundreds of students to fill the commons in protest, voicing their concerns and their outrage, but some students tell us racism on campus isn’t limited to just notes.
“Yelling, cussing even in a classroom situation as well as down to little micro-aggressions, things in between. People have used the ‘n-word’ to my face,” said student Limi Simbakalia.
Dean of Students Rosalyn Eaton claims the school is doing everything they can to investigate.
“We do care about what’s going on. I understand, when it’s not resolved, it certainly does look like the administration is doing nothing…Are we doing nothing? No, we are doing something. We haven’t solved it yet,” Eaton said.
On a campus that has just 63 students who identify as black or African American, Eaton says it will be important to have uncomfortable conversations about race in order for the community to heal.
Multiple students have said they won’t attend class on Monday in order to protest the acts of racism. They have planned a sit-in at Tomson Hall in order to get the attention of school administrators.
St. Olaf College is working with Northfield Police to investigate the string of racist notes.
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