Hate Speech Chalking Found in Worth Courtyard

The wall at the entrance to Worth Courtyard on the Willets side was defaced with a chalking containing homophobic hate speech and a threat on Thursday afternoon. The chalking stated: “Queer Dorms,” with an arrow pointing to Worth Hall and the Lodges, “Tits,” and, underneath, “Kill em all.” The culprits are unknown, and the chalking has been since washed off by the College. Both students and the administration have expressed concern about the hate speech, especially in the light of a similar incident in March, when homophobic slurs were sprayed on David Kemp Hall.

Ben Hattem ’12 noticed the chalkings and immediately contacted Dean of Students Liz Braun. According to Hattem, Braun said it was “the worst graffiti yet” and expressed the need for a strong response from the school.

Will Lawrence ’13, who also saw the chalking said that “considering that this seems to be becoming a pattern, we really need to develop an immediate response mechanism among the students that will allow the community to denounce hate speech and express support for those who were targeted.”

Update: While Dean of Students Liz Braun was not available for comment, she sent out an email to the community Thursday afternoon in which she outlined the events of the day, shared the administrations’ concerns and writing that “[w]e want to encourage you to in whatever ways you can to demonstrate your active support for our LGBT community and to continue to let everyone know that Swarthmore is not a community that will tolerate hate or threats against any member of our community.” Braun also wrote that “there is more work to be done,” and that there will be a Collection Friday at 12:30 p.m., location to be determined.

Update: Dean Braun told The Daily Gazette that in addition to Friday’s event “there are more proactive things in the works,” and that Public Safety will continue to investigate. She added that if more information should come to light, she will keep the campus community informed.

Correction: the article initially stated that the chalkings were found on Wednesday afternoon, while they were actually found Thursday afternoon.


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77 comments

  1. 0
    Andrew Heston says:

    The chalked comment was despicable, and I am glad about the Collection to discuss it. Everyone should feel safe on campus. I hope that some of the tolerance that was discussed was about some of the less violent but also deeply intolerant chalkings about the fraternities as well. Not only are the fraternities diverse ethnically and in sexual preference, but even in this thread someone took the time to smear their reputation with false posts. In that light, perhaps this would be a good moment for “Angry Queer” to apologize for bashing whiteness, straightness, and maleness, for example. There are plenty of white, straight males who care deeply about issues such as racism, sexism, and LGBTIQ rights, and if they were actively hostile to those ideas, they probably wouldn’t be plonking down $55,000 a year to go to Swat. Also, as far as being “normatively” white, heterosexual or god forbid male, I think it’s fair to extend the same tolerance to them that is expected of them to others. Furthermore, just because a person is a white male does not mean that he has not suffered some other kind of oppression in his lifetime–of poverty, of bullying, of abusive parenting, for example. Stereotyping of ANY student is not okay. And for all the discussion of oppression and privileging, don’t forget that while this discussion is going on, there are hundreds of thousands of smart people in this country who work two or three jobs at minimum wage to pay for their community college classes. All Swarthmore students are incredibly “privileged,” no matter what ethnic, religious, gender, sexual preference status they come from.

    Nobody has a right to threaten to kill or target anyone. Hate speech is wrong. But before anybody goes around blaming any particular group of people, remember that nobody knows who actually wrote the comment. The only thing anybody knows is that the “author” wants attention. Until the culprit is known, it is unhelpful to add to the bitterness by making unfound accusations.

  2. 0
    Andrew Waks '13 says:

    So, from reading the comments on here, it strikes me that there’s a major disconnect between different portions of the student body. For many, the fact that queer folks, poc, and women are oppressed is so obvious that it hardly seems to warrant justifying. For another portion of our campus, the idea of “oppression” is either entirely caught up with the idea of state-sanctioned brutality or is essentially invisible because they’ve not experienced it.

    I think it’s extraordinarily important for the good of our community, and everyone involved, to try to bridge this gap. I see a lot of folks in the latter camp dismiss the concerns of marginalized groups on campus despite sympathizing with the relevant causes because this invisibile oppression is never explained to them in concrete and sympathetic terms. Sadly, even in this discussion I see a lot of good opportunities for education squandered:

    For instance, Danny’s answer to “Towards a Pragmatic Response” AND the “Large University” vs. “no.” exchange. The answer to Mike’s comment is particularly illustrative, even though it’s actually in a fairly positive tone. Note that when a potential ally remarks that there’s no oppression at Swarthmore, the top reply is “don’t tell people they’re not oppressed.” In other comments, questioning oppression results in replies stating that marginalized peoples are raped, attacked, and murdered every day. Yes. This is true. But that answer doesn’t inform the skeptic about the connections between that violence and things like everyday bigotry, campus passivity, and localized oppression. The way we need to respond to people is to detail very specifically and kindly the ways in which oppression manifests itself at Swarthmore— not to either explicitly or (in this case) implicitly tell them to cease questioning because of their own privilege.

    Instead, folks get labeled as privileged, incapable of understanding, etc. This “crazy vs. privileged” characterization war doesn’t have to happen. This discussion should be an opportunity to engage positively. When people question the existence of oppression, educate! Give concrete explanations of your experiences of oppression, how they have impacted your life inside and outside of Swarthmore, how even well-intentioned people can facilitate oppression, etc.

    I would give some concrete examples myself, but I don’t think I can do so very effectively. I’ve lived a life of privilege. White, straight, male, wealthy, etc. BUT I’m progressive and engaged and enthusiastic and I want to do good things! Even, however, as a relatively active ally, I’ve been pushed away more than once by people invoking my own privilege. I’ve been told I can’t understand something because I’m white, straight, etc. Those sort of reactions hurt, but more importantly are just counterproductive. I’d wager that there are few places better than Swarthmore to educate passive supporters and transform folks into active allies. The key is to not make people feel alienated because of their privilege, and not to silence debate but rather to actively educate. Don’t curse and mock well-meaning but naive classmates. Teach them. Reach out. Transform them.

    This forum is one place to start. I think, though, that there should be some campus event of this sort next year. I have no idea what form this would take. Perhaps a panel of brave folks willing to talk about their experiences of marginalization and oppression and some professors as well. It should be accessible and be open for questions (although I realize an open questioning period essentially about some of the more traumatic experiences my fellow classmates have gone through may be a ludicrous request). Maybe some other people on this thread can help flesh out my vague thoughts more, if anybody thinks this is a cool idea. I just feel like it’d be a good thing for everyone involved.

  3. 0
    Editors ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Disclaimer

    Recently, people have been posting comments under false names and false pseudonyms. Because the editors of the Gazette are unable to personally verify the identity of each commenter, we encourage you to post with your real names and/or email addresses so that we may contact you in case of dispute. Also, please read suspicious-sounding comments with a grain of salt, as the trolls seem particularly bent on attacking the campus fraternities.

    Thank you!

  4. 0
    Not-Fucking-Okay says:

    YES! This is exactly what we need right now: support!

    But this makes me wonder… will the brothers of the Phi Psi fraternity see this as a challenge and seek to outdo their not so neighborly neighbors??? Maybe make a contest out of it?! Prize: Winner has the utmost respect from the LGBT community till time runs stagnant!!!

    So far the score’s 1-0 DU… come on Phi Psi, step up to the plate (no matter which team you play for lol)!!!

    1. 0
      Brent Stanfield '14 says:

      FRAUD! You have stolen my pseudonymous identity.
      The DG can validate that the email submitted with all previous “Not-Fucking-Okay” comments was my Swarthmore email. And even if you somehow used my email, plenty of people will validate that I couldn’t have possibly written this because I was at collection at the time.

      PS: I used a psuedonym not to hide, but because there were no full names or class years being used when I made my first post, thus a pseudonym seemed more appropriate.

  5. 0
    A thought says:

    I think you’re talking past the point of that quotation a little. I agree that it is often more constructive to call acts rather than people racist (or sexist, homophobic, etc.) But that doesn’t mean the people who commit racist acts shouldn’t be called out for committing racist acts (without necessarily categorizing them as “bad people.”) That’s part of accountability; it’s part of making sure that racism and other oppressive social phenomena are fought and get reduced.

    Putting the point in a more general way, while it may be unhelpful to attack people’s character when the real problem is (certain particular elements of) their conduct, that doesn’t mean that no one should ever say things that make other people feel bad or uncomfortable, or like they’re being condemned or attacked. Sometimes you have to say hard things in order to make necessary change.

    1. 0
      Saint and Sinner ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      I did not say that people who commit homophobic or racist acts should not be called out, I specifically said they should be confronted. I do believe that tension and conflict are sometimes needed to resolve issues; MLK called for creative tension to help bring notice to and rectify injustice, and I agree. I am do not believe that confronting or tackling racism or homophobia or any other types of oppression will be a smooth, conflict free, tension free ride to a just world. And I sympathize with the outrage and anger our community feels about this situation. What I am saying is that the way in which this anger and outrage is expressed and directed at individuals for who their are as people and not the attitudes they express, (this person is stupid or that person should go to hell (suggesting they are a bad person) , etc.) is unhelpful to addressing this issue.
      There is a difference between making someone feel that their behavior is being condemned or making them feel uncomfortable about their behavior, and making someone feel attacked and condemned as a person, i.e. if a three year old child hit another child, you wouldn’t tell the child you are a bad person, you would say that behavior was wrong.
      When you attack someone as person, they completely shutdown listening to you, no one is going to accept the premise that they are bad people and anyone who suggests otherwise will be immediately ignored and they will get very defensive. How often does attacking someone as person lead them to reevaluate their attitudes and behavior, in your experience? In my experience it almost always leads to defensiveness, a need to justify themselves which may only strengthen that belief or behavior, and more hostility. Challenging someone’s behavior still produces tension and conflict, but at least sometimes people are open to dialogue under those circumstances.
      Condemning people creates a tension that only amplifies hostility and hurts the possibility of resolution, condemning behaviors also creates tension but at least it has the potential to lead to dialogue which in turn has the potential to lead to a resolution.

      I agree with you that we have to confront people and say difficult things that will likely lead to discomfort, I am saying, as you suggested that we need to make sure we are doing this without demonizing people, and I believe that that quotation quickly leads us down that road.

    2. 0
      another thought says:

      “Sometimes you have to say hard things in order to make necessary change.”

      Attacking someone personally is just about the easiest thing you can do. Having a constructive discussion with someone who you vehemently disagree with is what’s “hard”.

  6. 0
    Joffrey Kingames says:

    Guys,

    What we need now is reason and action; not bickering amongst ourselves. As a brother of Delta Upsilon, I am pleased to announce that DU has recently allocated $1,000 in donations and will be bequething this sum of barter to the LGBT community as a token of our gratitude for their steadfast efforts in seeking to eradicate hate speech of all sorts, shapes and sizes. We hope to remain in your warm embrace(s) for the years to come.

    For the love of the Game,
    Joffrey

  7. 0
    past swattie says:

    “There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as “racially charged” even in those cases when it would be more honest to say “racist”; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic.”

    -http://m.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/03/the-white-savior-industrial-complex/254843/?single_page=true

    just food for thought

    1. 0
      Saint and Sinner ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      There is a reason why we label actions and not people, because people are not good or bad, their actions may be perceived as good or bad (from our perspective). While I think racism, homophobia, misogyny are all bad things that our society should be seeking to reduce, I condemn the actions, not the people, as unpopular as that maybe because prevents us from quenching our desire to personify evil and channeling our anger at a specific target. I am not saying that we condone the actions or simply allow the person to continue on their way without any comment or question, but people are products of their environment, and when we start saying this person or that person has an immoral attribute (from our perspective), we start forgetting how the environment has influenced this persons beliefs and behavior and about how each of us is flawed, and we start thinking, it is this person that is the problem, it is this person that is the source of the problems in the world, not the environment that created his or her beliefs. And it is exactly this type of thinking that causes many of the problems in the world, homophobes think people who are homosexual are bad people, and then many homosexuals and their sympathizers respond in turn, by declaring people who are homophobic bad people. It is not very constructive for dialogue when everybody thinks that that people on the other side are evil. I am not saying their is an equivalence between homophobic behavior and homosexual behavior, because I do believe one is deserving of condemnation (homophobia) and the other not (homosexuality), but I do think there is an equivalence in each side condemning the person and not the behavior they disagree with, and this condemnation of the person harms dialogue in my opinion. Again I am not saying that homophobic attitudes should be accepted as legitimate and unquestioned simply because I believe people are not responsible for their attitudes (I believe nature and nurture are). Obviously, the individual and the environment have a symbiotic relationship, so that person, if un-confronted will thereby become a part of the environment that influences others and perpetuates the problem, so I am not saying that a person should not be confronted, simply that we should not be confronting them as if they are this evil enemy and source of our problems, but as a symptom of a larger, more systemic problem that also needs to be addressed. It is very easy to demonize people, and in the heat of the moment, I always have a difficult time preventing myself from doing it, but these people are no different than you or I, and we have to put ourselves in their shoes, and ask how their environments influenced their beliefs. None of us is perfect, we all, as humans, have the capacity to be loving and kind to our neighbors, or to be hateful and cruel, and is doubtful that many of us are completely loving and kind at all times to all people of all places. So we can demonize these people all we want but we are them, and the flaws we perceive in them exist in us as well. No doubt part of the reason we demonize them is to make ourselves feel superior and avoid acknowledging or addressing our own shortcomings. And if we do truly believe that we are more compassionate than them, we should be asking why that is. Is their a neurobiological element to this story, how did this person’s environment influence them, etc.? People do not come out of the womb destined to be another Mother Teresa or Adolf Hitler regardless of their environment. We all have a saint and a sinner inside of us, and the vitriol expressed in some of these postings by people who no doubt have much compassion for the LGBT community has provided a perfect example of that.

      So yes I am quite comfortable condemning the actions of people without going around identifying specific people as “sinners.” And I can only hope that this “expectation” continues to grow.

      1. 0
        Joyce Wu says:

        You make a good point with a bad example. I agree that condemning actions and not people is a good thing to do. I do, however, take issue with the way you frame your argument so that it seems to state that being queer is a behavior that just happens to not be “deserving of condemnation”. The term “homosexuals and their sympathizers” also doesn’t sit right with me at all.

        But I know you have good intentions, and you are right on the mark about other things—nobody is perfect, and it isn’t fair to demonize people based on only seeing certain aspects of them. (It’s just very difficult to do that when your mind is essentially a blob of anger and hurt.)

        1. 0
          Saint and Sinner ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

          I am truly sorry if I offended you, as for the term that did not sit right with you, which I will not repeat, what would you prefer in its place to refer to the people who are members of the LGBT community or who wish to defend their rights (I am a member of the latter)?

          As far as framing my argument in a way that being queer is a behavior that happens to not be deserving of condemnation, I simply meant it was in the category of activities that inflict no harm on others and therefore should not be attacked, a category which also includes heterosexual sex, kite-flying, movie watching, etc. In my eyes there is basically a spectrum with three major sections, activities that harm others, activities that are other-neutral, and activities that help others, and I consider any activity that is not in the harm section to be “a behavior that just happens to not be ‘deserving of condemnation.'”But I apologize if presented my argument in a potentially offensive way.

          1. 0
            Joyce Wu says:

            The problem I have with “homosexual” is that it only describes a subset of the queer community, and does so in terms of sex; and “sympathizer” (at least in my mind) tends to carry a connotation of being allied with a negative force. So the term we tend to use on campus is the queer community and their allies. The LGBT (or LGBTQ, or any of those alphabet-soup-like combinations) community and their allies works too.

            I understand what you were trying to say—it’s just that sexual orientation and gender identity go far beyond behavior, and the way you wrote your argument seemed to imply that behavior was the only factor that goes into being queer. Thank you for your thoughtful response, and I’m glad we could discuss this without resorting to typing in caps and all that.

  8. 0
    Mike says:

    Y’know, it took twenty seconds for whoever’s responsible to draw this graffiti… and the rest of Swarthmore has spent all day wasting their time debating it.

    Yes, it’s a childish and despicable act. At a deeper level, why do you all think someone decided to do it? It’s very obvious that the provoker here just wanted to incite a reaction from the community, and to that extent he/she certainly succeeded.

    All I’m saying is that the extended phase of ire after these incidents occur is more likely to encourage whoever’s responsible, not dissuade them.

    1. 0
      Not-Fucking-Okay says:

      What part of death threat do you not understand? When peoples lives are potentially endangered,there is no ceiling you can put on how lng is too long to be upset over it. It doesn’t matter how serious the death threat it. It’s beside the fucking point.

    2. 0
      LetsBeReal says:

      I agree with Mike. We are attaching too much importance to this act which was probably a joke or some drunken act. As harsh as this may sound, I think its true that the gathering wouldn’t make much of a difference since the offender (and others like him/her) will most likely NOT be there, and like Victor Brady rightfully said, the timing of the gathering isn’t great since it clashes with classes and wrist-band collection for the LSE.
      Again, I don’t see this act as life-threatening as most people have exaggeratedly claimed, but I agree its disturbing and worth looking into. I also believe the school’s response was right (having public safety remove the chalking ASAP). To also reiterate what someone said earlier about this kind of issue not causing much debate in larger schools, I think we should remember that this is (or is supposed to be) a university and not a high/middle school. That said, we cannot always worry TOO MUCH and send verbose, long, VERY SIMILAR emails to the campus community over and over again when things like this happen. The perpetrators will feel fulfilled and accomplished to create this much turbulence on the campus just by expending 30-40 seconds of their time.

      Now my suggestion: I strongly believe there is no ULTIMATE solution to these “hate speeches” (I’ll rather refer to them as mere “chalking”) unless one culprit is caught in the act. That said, all this rage about needing security and lives being under threat should be brought to a minimum because they will change nothing. Having a police guard walk you around campus will not stop someone from making another chalking when they please …even on the wall of you room.

    3. 0
      LET US RECALL WILLIAMS' RESPONSE ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      “It’s very obvious that the provoker..”

      How do you know this? If it were “very obvious,” then surely it’d be obvious to others too, making your comment a triviality.

      Have you experienced hate persistently directed toward you for a trait intrinsic to you? It doesn’t seem like you have. Perhaps when you do, you’ll understand why people are so upset.

    4. 0
      Alum '10 says:

      Agree with you. This one time, I tripped, and fractured my wrist. Forget twenty seconds, took me all of TWO SECONDS to fall and hurt myself– but DAMN if my body didn’t take four weeks in a cast to fix that shit. Spent at least 4 hours in an hospital getting an x-ray and getting it examined. I need to stop rewarding my body with attention when it pulls this kind of childish tripping shit– what am I, 18 months? Stupid fucking body.

    5. 0
      Out in the Real World '11 says:

      Mike, I’m sorry but this arg makes no sense. You are literally saying that b/c hate speech takes such little time or effort to produce we ought not concern ourselves with it seriously as a community. THAT’S DUMB.

      Also, even if the homophobe who made the chalking was looking to produce some sort of reaction, the proper response still isn’t apathy or tacit acceptance. People still deserve to air grievances, extend care to members of the community affected, and figure out how to respond more effectively to the latent, insidious forms of homophobia/bigotry that exist on campus.

      PS. given your last comment’s insistence that Swarthmore is a world apart because people lean left, indicates that it is you who hasn’t had much experience in the real world. It turns out that the reason social ills get termed structural is because they reproduce themselves everywhere across all spheres of life (in obviously differing degrees). Unless you are an apologist (which I’m pretty sure you are), an actively concerned person still tries to figure out how to confront these problems no matter how much that douchey, privileged voice inside us tries to dismiss them as trivial.

    6. 0
      Stop right there. says:

      In response to your last sentence, which is an argument that has been brought up a lot:
      1) I don’t see how not having a collective community condemnation is any more likely to dissuade potential perpetrators.
      2) Maybe dissuading them isn’t even our goal. Acts like these are just wrong. We need to make it clear that we’re aware of that instead of pretending it didn’t happen and letting whoever did it get away with it.

  9. 0
    Man with tits says:

    I’m a man with tits, and I believe this “Kill ‘Em All” was referring directly to me and my fellow moob constituents. I demand 24 hour surveillance; I’m in fear of my life! YALP!

    1. 0
      Hannah '12 says:

      You are a fucking idiot. Normally I don’t comment on the DG with such pronounced accusations, but I will say it again. You are a fucking idiot. This is exactly the kind of bullshit that hides underneath the surface and then bubbles up in some anonymous comment.

      This is absolutely trivializing and demeaning to the safety concerns of queer people on campus, and you have no fucking ground to stand on in defense of it. In case you didn’t read the myriad of comments above, every day queer people read or hear shit that directs violence or hate speech at them. It’s scary and it’s dehumanizing. To have that brought to your home, with arrows and all, is incredibly acute. I hope you respond to this with your real name, because we need to have a serious conversation about how fucked up your comment is. It may be that, as a straight dude (yes, I’m making assumptions here), you have no conception of how dangerously trivializing you sound, in which case I would love to get lunch with you and chat about your nice, safe life and how it contrasts with the experiences of others. However, that is no excuse. Until you live with that fear, you have no right to speak, so either keep your privileged bullshit to yourself, or come out in the open with it as yourself so it can be challenged.

      1. 0
        Michael Droste says:

        Hannah, you should be absolutely ashamed of yourself. What you’ve just written is totally unbecoming of any student at this school.

        Though your entire comment was sickening, here are the passages I’m referencing:
        “You are a fucking idiot.”
        “You are a fucking idiot.” (second occurrence)
        “you have no conception of how dangerously trivializing you sound”
        “Until you live with that fear, you have no right to speak”
        “so either keep your privileged bullshit to yourself”

        You are a Swarthmore student. You’re supposed to value equality and social responsibility – this is itself a commitment to equality of opinion. Put another way, it doesn’t matter how silly or naive you think another person’s perspective on an issue might be, you should respond to it respectfully. You do not censor the dialogue. You do not call another student a ‘fucking idiot’ – twice. You do not tell another student ‘keep your privileged bullshit to yourself’ or ‘you have no right to speak’, even if that student’s a full-blown neo-Nazi.

        It is absolutely mind-blowing to me that, in a discussion broadly centered around creating a friendly and tolerant campus environment, any supportive student would casually toss around this sort of vitriolic, hateful language.

        1. 0
          Hannah '12 says:

          Hey Michael,

          In situations like this, it’s hard to know how to respond because there are so many things to talk about.

          1) Valuing equality is NOT valuing equality of opinion. That is a position that perpetuates oppression. Do I think the opinion of a homophobic asshole is as valuable as anyone else’s? No. Absolutely not. Now, to clarify, when I said “you have no right to speak,” I meant about issues pertaining to experiences and communities he has no conception of. Sure, that dude can go and speak all he wants, but when he wants to belittle my very real concerns about my own safety, no I don’t want to hear it, especially not anonymously. If we valued the opinions of neo-Nazis as much as anyone else’s opinions, some people would feel very very unsafe. I think the catch is that, I don’t just “disagree” with this person, I find his comments personally belittling and, truthfully, dangerous.

          2) This discussion is not about creating a “friendly,” “tolerant” campus, it’s about creating a just campus, which are two very different things. “Friendliness” and “tolerance” will get us nowhere because in order to really address internalized homophobia and racism on this campus, there MUST be conflict.

          3) This would take a huge amount of explaining and I don’t really expect you, or some others on this thread, to understand, but it’s the most typically white, male, middle/upper class thing to insist on “tolerance” and “friendliness” at all costs and to be shocked when people are angry or express that anger. I actually laughed a little when I read your response because I knew some dude was going to write a comment like that when I posted my last one. I hope this sinks in: I am angry. I have every right to be angry. For someone who is not directly threatened in this situation, or who generally feels safe and privileged in most places (e.g. white middle class straight dudes) to tell me that I need to calm down, or to be nice in this situation, is insulting, and reinforces who is silenced at this school and who is not.

          Now Michael, I think I may have met you in real life once, and you seem like a nice guy who just doesn’t really understand oppression. In the spirit of civil discourse, I would love to get lunch with you sometime to talk about this. No doubt I will have calmed down by then.

        2. 0
          APOLOGIST PARTY!! '11 says:

          Michael Droste,

          Are you SERIOUS!? You are gonna play apologist to someone whose goal was to trivial the whole situation and call out someone expressing REASONABLE quantities of rage and indignation.

          As you hide behind the privileged space of STAYING CALM and REASONABLE, queer people, womynfolk, and POC are getting threatened and beaten up and raped and killed and we have a right to be pissed and to (figuratively?) piss all over the people who try to dismiss those concerns.

          Get of your myopic ridiculous high horse, you fucking apologist.

          PS. Thank you Hannah for saying what needed to be said. <3

  10. 0
    Sean Mangus, Rory McTear says:

    The anonymous individual or individuals posting comments on the Daily Gazette as “DU Liason” are in no way affiliated with Swarthmore Delta Upsilon. We believe the comments were posted by close-minded individuals who, in posting inflammatory statements, were attempting to gather responses to their comments.

    More importantly, acts of violence and hate are absolutely unacceptable and abhorrent. Swarthmore Delta Upsilon unequivocally denounces hate speech and threats made against members of Swarthmore’s community.

    Swarthmore Delta Upsilon promotes safety and encourages the community to take an active role in preventing violence and hate. Representatives of Swarthmore Delta Upsilon will be attending the reflection and discussion of the occurrences, and we encourage all members of the community to attend as well. As a campus community, it is essential to be supportive of one another, especially in light of these occurrences.

    Sean Mangus 13′, Vice President Membership Education Swarthmore Delta Upsilon

    Rory McTear 13′, Vice President Social Affairs Swarthmore Delta Upsilon

  11. 0
    Frustrated '14 says:

    Can we please stop pretending that oppression doesn’t exist at Swarthmore and isn’t played out regularly within the community? While we’re at it, can we also stop making calls for “increased security” to even further bolster the walls of and enclose this apparently sacred, post-oppressionary utopia?

    Oh, and SILENCE ISN’T THE ANSWER.

    This year and last (I can’t speak for those before), there were “incidents” of hate speech. Reliably, the events are pegged on non-students. Is it REALLY that far off to think that Swarthmore students are capable of these sorts of acts? Let’s stop pretending that sexual assault doesn’t happen, that queer bashing doesn’t happen, that racism doesn’t happen. To me, a string of hate speech would seem to indicate that–LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE F***ING WORLD–oppression is a deeply-rooted problem at Swarthmore. These “incidents” are really just the most visible manifestations of structural oppression; that we only see it when it’s graffiti’d on a wall, or when an incident is reported, but that graffiti doesn’t magically appear and people don’t just happen to say f***ed up things to other people because they were having a bad day. People who aren’t racists can still be racist. People who aren’t homophobes can still be homophobic. More often than not–AND ESPECIALLY AT SWARTHMORE–that’s how oppression plays out: underground, below the surface, and pervading basically everything.

    That, along with a host of other reasons, is why I don’t think calls for increased “security” are useful, at least in the way that it’s often posed. Even as someone whose identity predisposes them to having pretty primo relationships with authority figures, seeing more cops, even more public safety around campus doesn’t make me feel safer. It *really* doesn’t make me feel any safer when I know that the problem (STRUCTURAL OPPRESSION) is still there, and it’s not being talked about or acted on. The collections this year seem like a step in the right direction, but aren’t enough. I won’t pretend like I know how to solve this problem, because no one actually knows how to end oppression (REALLY PPL). Chances are, though, that it’s going to take deeper cultural and community work than the administration is capable of, are even willing to engage in. Again, I think collections are great, and that the administration should do everything in its capacity to be an active ally to oppressed folks and create effective policies for dealing with these things. That said, the admin is inherently top-down, and it’s going to take some REALLY tough work on the part of students if we’re even going to begin tackling the massive elephant/800 lb. gorilla/what have you sitting smack-dab in the middle of Parrish Beach.

    1. 0
      Mike says:

      I know that ‘structural oppression’ is a nice buzzword to lift from your readings, but it’s really totally inapplicable within the context of Swarthmore and doesn’t make too much sense given the rest of your argument.

      You’re arguing that Swat needs to approach these incidents from a perspective that acknowledges that racism and, uh, ‘oppression’ might exist at Swarthmore (editorial comment: if you think whatever racist/sexist/discriminatory tendencies exist at Swat constitute ‘oppression’, the real world is going to oppress the hell out of you). OK. But given this argument – that the student body might, in fact, harbor some racists and other nutters within it – it doesn’t follow that there’s systemic ‘oppression’ within the system. When was the last time you saw Rebecca Chopp make a colorful racist remark in Parrish? Do you think that the campus response in this scenario reflects any sort of discrimination (Note: if you answer ‘yes’ to this last question, I regret to inform you that you’ll never be satisfied with the conditions of your life, ever, anywhere…)?

      Please – if you’re gonna shamelessly lift buzzwords from the last sociology paper you read, at least make sure you’re picking the right ones. There are words to describe ‘oppression’* without implying that these tendencies are systemic.

      I’m all for constantly striving to make this school a better and more equal place, and I think it’s vital that people call attention to those areas in which the school could improve to do so. But to claim there is systemic oppression within the school is way over-the-top and, as I see it, destructive to our discourse.

      * Again I’d like to emphasize how silly and unrealistic I think the usage of the word ‘oppression’ at Swarthmore is – not because I don’t have the gall to use it around my alma mater so much as I think it’s about as shamelessly over-the-top as a Republican ideologue calling Obama a fascist

      1. 0
        Really? says:

        Mike,

        Your comment is totally condescending and frankly, dumb. To imply that “Frustrated ’14” is throwing around the word “structural oppression” merely because it’s a fancy word they learned in class indicates to me that you have had no experience with the concept in real life, and therefore assume that no one else would either. Chances are, Frustrated ’14 has experienced oppression, and therefore knows the usefulness and accuracy of the term. “Structural oppression” rarely takes the form of overtly racist comments or explicit hate speech, as you seem to think. It usually plays out more subtly through people with privilege. It manifests itself in who sets cultural norms (Swat has a decidedly white, upper-middle class culture, as evidenced by this thread), who’s voices are heard (faculty diversity is still not where it should be, despite huge amounts of work from faculty and students of color), what is considered “normal” (yes, even at quirky ol’ Swat, whiteness, straightness, and gender conformity are all the norm), and, aside from all of the Swat-specific problems, the outside world IS NEVER SEPARATE. Consider the criteria for getting into Swat and the oppression at work there, consider the criteria for getting high-level jobs after Swat and the oppression at work there.

        My answer is “yes” to your question concerning the campus response, but with a slight alteration. Yes, the campus response to this reflects oppression (discrimination connotes some sort of intention on the part of the campus). This oppression happens without people trying, or being overtly homophobic. It happens in what is considered a valid response. It happens when people belittle the concerns of a targeted community because they have no conception of what that feels like. It happens when people tell a marginalized group that they are “overreacting” when they are targeted for violence. It happens when the discourse on campus is around “civility,” rather than anti-oppression. And finally, I do not need you to inform me that I won’t be “satisfied” anywhere else in the world. Of course I won’t be. It’s not even a matter of “satisfaction,” it’s a matter of safety, and of avoiding bodily harm. As a queer person, satisfaction in the real world is the last of my concerns and very far from any reality I can imagine.

      2. 0
        Stop right there. says:

        You’re right. The world outside our campus is definitely far more oppressive than our own community. That doesn’t mean nobody is oppressed on campus. I’m envious of you for clearly never having been a victim of the systems we have in place that suppress individuals (in a way that is far from overt), but please stop telling people that they haven’t been oppressed. And before you criticize people for using terms like “structural oppression”, you should probably realize that it does not entail anything like Rebecca Chopp making colorful racist remarks in Parrish.

    2. 0
      Frustrated '14 says:

      Sorry if it came off differently (reading it over, it did), but I’d definitely agree. What I was getting at was that there needs to be immediate response that’s a part of deeper and longer-term work. Immediate priority should absolutely be in making sure people feel/are safe.

  12. 0
    Victor Brady ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    LET US RECALL WILLIAMS’ RESPONSE,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Williams’ response was forceful, admirable, and totally appropriate. Regardless of whether or not this was written by a Swarthmore student, it, along with the several previous incidents this semester, is a reminder of the intolerance and hatred that still exists in the Swarthmore community or at the very least the surrounding communities.

    If we are truly trying to learn to be global, forward-thinking citizens with ethical intelligence, then this is a critical opportunity to join together as an entire community to show solidarity with those attacked by this hate speech and to discuss how we can better make our community the tolerant, accepting and even appreciative community that we strive to be.

    And while tomorrow’s collection is an important step, for it to occur at the same time that students are in class or waiting in line for ticket’s for tomorrow nights show diminishes its significance.

  13. 0
    LET US RECALL WILLIAMS' RESPONSE ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Recall that in November of last year Williams College observed **VIRTUALLY IDENTICAL HATE SPEECH** directed toward another minority group and Williams responded forcefully by HALTING CLASSES!

    http://president.williams.edu/letters-from-the-president/1174/

    The shocking writing here is virtually identical to that of the Williams College incident. The college would be well served by following the steps of its peer institution in dealing with an incident of this seriousness!

  14. 0
    A Queer Amongst Queers says:

    I recognize this is connected in part to being able-bodied and male, having learned martial arts, grown up brawling with siblings, and Finals making me need to blow of steam- and I recognize this isn’t a productive strategy for handling the situation- but when I read the chalkings my first response was just,

    “Bring it, fuckers.”

  15. 0
    '12 says:

    Any response to this incident needs to involve the greater community. I’m not just talking about the town of Swarthmore, I’m talking about towns like Morton and Ridley where a large percentage of the so-called “Ville-rats” actually come from.

    On another note, it is worth pointing out again that our campus is an extremely open campus, poorly lit in most areas (although this has improved somewhat in my 4 years here), and lacking in security. Any person, whether from the campus community or from outside of it, is quite free to go to any corner of the campus and do whatever they want. That needs to change if we are serious about stopping these incidents.

    1. 0
      ... says:

      getting all the dark corners of campus isn’t going to make hateful homophobes any less hateful and homophobic. the problem is a lot bigger than that.

      1. 0
        '12 says:

        You are missing the point. The anonymity offered by this campus enables and empowers these individuals to carry out their actions. We can’t expect homophobia to disappear but we can certainly make it more difficult for people to threaten the lives of others with impunity.

      2. 0
        Not-Fucking-Okay says:

        But it will make people safer. It’ll make their homophobia harder to act out b/c they can be seen by others.
        If, God forbid, they attack- it will make them more visible to others during the act, and it will make them more visible to the victim, so a more accurate description can be given, so identifying them would be easier.

      1. 0
        students should be number 1 says:

        meaning that we pride ourselves on being the most liberal, safest, most committed to our students blah blah blah etc and clearly we could be doing more

  16. 0
    Large University says:

    When this sort of thing happens at a large university, people don’t bat an eyelash, and it’s enforced in many occasions. When it happens here, there’s a shitstorm. That tells you something about queer safety and the comparison level for alternatives, doesn’t it?

    When there was a bomb threat at my middle school every week, we responded accordingly. But everyone knew it wasn’t for real. Swatties: this is probably not for real (“tits”?? That’s very threatening…). Our response is plenty condemning. Let’s keep condemning it. But know you don’t need bodyguards, it’s not for real.

    1. 0
      LET US RECALL WILLIAMS' RESPONSE ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

      Big universities are not the model. Condonation of hate doesn’t make it okay! Persistence ! Legitimacy.

      Your experience is important, but if you don’t know anything about being gay in the U.S., don’t patronize us with your bull shit. Even in liberal New York people say offensive shit to me.

    2. 0
      Not-Fucking-Okay says:

      Even if this isn’t (note present tense not past tense) a real threat, to not respond to it as if it were would allow for real threats to eventually take place.
      Also, do you not remember the attack last spring? I know we aren’t sure if homophobia was a reason for the assault, but it could have been, and thus a written threat of violence should absolutely be taken seriously.

    3. 0
      no. says:

      shut the fuck up. seriously, you are no kind of swattie. queer people are bashed, intimidated, harassed, killed, and raped every single day. threats of any kind towards marginalized students shouldn’t be belittled by some ignorant asshole as “not for real.” go to fucking hell.

        1. 0
          Joe says:

          I’m upset that someone would tell someone else that they weren’t a part of our community. That isn’t fair. Obviously this person can express their feelings however they wish, but there’s no need to invoke this level of vitriol. I don’t think that the first commenter was denying the horrifying peril that many queer students live through every day–only pointing out the possibility that the chalking was conducted to arouse anger rather than to articulate a threat the chalker intended to act upon.

  17. 0
    another queer student says:

    I completely agree with you. I urge all students to come to the reflection tomorrow-queer students have the right to have their outrage and fear heard by the administration, which hopefully understands that they owe us some strong assurances about our imminent and overall safety.

    I would also expect a strong showing of straight allies, and would be particularly encouraged by the presence of fraternity leadership and brothers, especially in light of some the misrepresentations in the comments and subsequent statements of support by real members.

  18. 0
    What can we do? says:

    I was very disturbed when I heard about this incident, especially in light of the other hate speech incidents not too long ago. I know that everyone is calling for the college and students to immediately take a strong stand against hate speech, and I think that’s really important. But, something I’ve been wondering about since the last incident is if these acts were committed by non-Swarthmore students, what actions can we take to prevent similar things from happening in the future and promote the safety of queer students in our community? I think promoting dialogue in our own community is definitely important…but what can we do about people not within our community? (I am curious to hear people’s ideas)

    1. 0
      Joyce Wu says:

      I think the location of this incident and the fact that it was chalked suggests that it was carried out by a member of the campus community, but that’s just conjecture and kind of beside the point anyway. To respond more directly to your comment, I strongly agree that we need to do something with people who aren’t within the College community. I’ve definitely heard reaching out to people in the Ville being brought up as something to do about previous incidences of hate speech. It’s more important than ever to take this kind of action in light of this chalking, whether or not it was done by someone in our community.

  19. 0
    Towards a Pragmatic Response says:

    Also in response to Danny,

    I wrote my first comment before yours or DU’s was posted, but I hope that it can be seen as a more diplomatic way of putting what could be reduced, in a vulgar way, to the same idea.

    It’s not just the frats’ idea. It’s also my non-Greek idea. It’s an attempt to make sure the response to graffiti is thoughtfully considered from several sides and not a knee-jerk reaction by our rightfully offended community. Like they used to say, when you’re in an argument, don’t yell back, but stop, breathe deep, and think about how we can work it out. We should consider this carefully,

    That’s the Swarthmore way, isn’t it?

    1. 0
      Danny says:

      Dear Towards a Pragmatic Response,

      There’s no argument here. The graffiti wasn’t an overture to the Swarthmore community, it was an explicit call to violence: an attack on a segment of our student population. This deserves nothing but immediate and unapologetic condemnation.

      I think that your advice that we should “breathe deep and think about how we can work it out” sounds suspiciously like “I think we should just not talk about this right now.”

      SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION. I DON’T APPRECIATE YOUR ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE THIS DEBATE IN THE NAME OF SOUNDING “REASONABLE.” AND YES, IN THIS CASE CAPS LOCK INDICATES ME YELLING. AT YOU.

  20. 0
    Towards a Pragmatic Response says:

    Without diminishing the validity of Space Cadet’s response (and while acknowledging that I agree with Space Cadet), I’d like to suggest something.

    If the College can’t ever actually prevent this sort of thing unless it catches the culprit and embarrasses, incapacitates, or punishes them to an extent that would deter repeat and copycat offenses,

    and if the offenders are largely motivated by imagining or reading about how upset this graffiti can, does, and should make the campus,

    is it better for the college to respond to this graffiti with

    A. rapid cleanup

    B. media blackout

    C. increased positive messaging

    After all, if we can’t keep out sticks and stones, we can at least try to keep out words that try to hurt us. And Swarthmore can never be destroyed by what a few deviant kids want to write.

    ————————————————————–

    I don’t think that A B and C really constitute an effective or even workable solution, but in some ways they seem preferable to a police state that keeps out Ville kids and expels people who mumble inappropriate slurs while drunk or peer pressured. Sure, a strong response will reassure us, but it won’t easily stamp out the core problem. Graffiti isn’t terrorism.

    1. 0
      Joyce Wu says:

      You say that you’re pragmatic, yet that your “solution” is neither effective nor workable. Then why are you suggesting it? Covering up hateful acts and promoting “positive messaging” is utterly different from keeping these incidents off of our campus. Also, cover-ups and your hypothetical “police state” are far from being the only two ways to combat hate speech, as you seem to suggest.

    1. 0
      Angry Queer says:

      so you’re advocating silence and complacency as strategies for dealing with hate? Because the natural progression is going to be towards tolerance? Not to get extreme on you, but mainstream silence and complacency have been the bread and butter of machines of violence and marginalization for centuries.

      Also, no offense, but what right do you have to speak for me and how I should react? I have to say (and I am not speaking for the entire community, or really any community at Swarthmore – I’m just speaking for myself) that when I see “DU” in print, I think of all the ways that whiteness, straightness, and maleness reinforce marginalization. I think of how uncomfortable I am around normative masculinity, how I alter my self-presentation around fratboys because I feel threatened, and how “stop complaining” or don’t react” sounds a lot like the sentiment of coercive silence that keep rape culture alive and well – even and especially at swarthmore.

      “DU liaison” – I don’t think you’re a homophobe. You’re probably a fine person. You probably are not hateful. But good god, don’t advocate silence and claim to be “fraternally mine.” If that’s what fraternal solidarity looks like to you, then we’ve got a more serious problem.

      -angry queer

    2. 0
      Not-Fucking-Okay says:

      DU, I had the same sentiment about previous events, that we shouldn’t turn this into a public spectacle, but do a lot of work quietly and passionately, so the perpetrators don’t get publicity.

      However, this chalking is different. This chalking contains a threat of violence. Regardless of whether or not it is a serious threat, this is 0% acceptable, and to not make a big deal out of this is to show our supposed values as bullshit. However, we should be thoughtful about how we react publicly, so that we are taken seriously.

    3. 0
      Danny says:

      @DU Liason: I could not possibly disagree with you more. No reaction to hate speech = tacit agreement with that speech = unsafe environment for those targeted. That’s absolutely unacceptable.

      I REALLY hope that this kind of thinking isn’t representative of Swarthmore’s frats.

      1. 0
        Joseph Hagedorn says:

        I mean, I could make this comment as “Danny [whatever your last name is]”. Would that be the kind of thinking that is representative of you?

  21. 0
    Space Cadet says:

    This is threatening, no two ways about it. This has crossed a line. To threaten violence of this degree goes beyond any of the previous events on campus this semester and as such, this requires a much stronger and fiercer response.

    What are you going to do Swarthmore? Don’t tell me to ignore what appears like a bored child’s scrawl cause its in chalk. Tell me how you’re going to assure me that I chose wisely when I matriculated to this institution based on what I thought was an excellent record of queer safety. Tell me how you’re going to ensure that this doesn’t escalate. Tell me how you’re going to make sure that a bunch of cocky punks don’t jump me this weekend because I’m clearly one of those queers that deserves to be killed.

    Killed.

    Think about that word Swatties: “kill” – v. to cause the death of.

    I’ve been told this so many times I stopped counting. I’ve been told I’m inhuman, I’m an animal, that I deserve to be murdered in long and painful ways that are inappropriate to detail here. I’ve been told this many times before because I’m queer. I came here in hopes of a break from that before returning to the world beyond the bubble.

    Everybody, really let this sink in:

    “Kill ’em all.”

    Now let these people know your outrage, your disgust at this chalked scrawl by supporting ’em all, protecting ’em all, standing by and up for ’em all.

    -Space Cadet

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