Ohio University students called for diversity training after a mural at the school was painted with a hanging figure and the phrase “Build the wall.”
Over 150 students and various student organizations gathered to discuss how to deal with recent graffiti on the school’s mural, reports Athens News.
So, I just saw this on OU’s graffiti wall: “Build the Wall” message over mural w/ lynched stick figure pic.twitter.com/bGbbKb7i9c
— Conor (@condormorris) September 20, 2016
The university’s Black Student Union (BSU) and NAACP chapter came together to create a plan to “address the lack of accountability when it comes to hate speech in general at Ohio University,” said Tyrin Rome, a liaison for the BSU.
One proposal called for an anti-hate speech clause to be added to the Student Code of Conduct. Other suggestions requested a task force devoted to a “culture of inclusion,” cultural competency courses and diversity training.
“The purpose of this meeting was to alert other organizations of what our plan of action is in hopes that they will join us in furthering our requests,” Jamal Pearl, BSU’s vice president and the secretary of OU’s NAACP chapter, said.
Student organizations painted over the school’s graffiti wall with different messages. Some painted “#BlackLivesMatter,” and “Racism will NOT be tolerated here” on the mural.
The hanging figure was left as it was and the phrase ““You can’t cover this up” was painted next to it. The phrase “Build the wall” also remained.
An Ohio University spokesperson said the university plans to continue using the mural to teach students that “words and images are powerful.”
“Paint may be able to cover offensive messages and reprehensible images; however, it will never conceal our underlying societal problems,” Carly Glick said. “We must purposely work to understand and accept one another in order to address conflicts. Our most fundamental responsibility as an institution of higher education is to promote inquiry and learning.
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