Students at Eastern Michigan U. protest ‘KKK’ and other racist graffiti

Staff members at Eastern Michigan University discovered racist graffiti on the side of a dormitory building Tuesday morning, campus newspaper The Eastern Echo reported.

“KKK” was spray painted in red, white and blue on the brick wall of dorm Julia Anne King Hall. Below the letters was the racial slur, “Leave N—–s.” University president James Smith said the school’s Department of Public Safety was investigating the incident.

“The University strongly condemns such a racist and thoughtless act, which runs completely counter to the values and welcoming environment of our highly diverse Eastern Michigan University community,” Smith said in a statement.

“Rest assured, we will investigate this criminal act to our fullest abilities and will advise our campus community on our progress,” he added.

At EMU, African-Americans made up 18 percent of all enrolled students in fall 2014, according to the latest federal data from the National Center for Educational Statistics. White students made up 66 percent.

By 9:40 a.m. today, school officials were on site to discuss plans to remove the hate speech, the Echo reported. The graffiti was shortly removed later that morning.

Several students, however, thought the university’s statement was insufficient.

After the wall had been cleared of the racist graffiti, senior Zack Badgerhouse told WEMU, the local NPR station, that he was staging a one-man silent protest at the site, because “African-American students are highly upset.”

He held a sign that read, “I need answers,” WEMU reported. By this afternoon, other EMU students had gathered at the scene of the incident as well, the Echo reported.

“What is the administration going to do about this?” Badgerhouse said. “It’s deeper than just taking it off the wall. I want answers and I want them now.”

Also this afternoon, several members of the Black Student Union joined EMU students on campus to protest the incident as well, shouting, “No Justice, No Peace.”

EMU student Janee, whose full name was withheld for security reasons, told Buzzfeed News that the black community on campus was hurt by the incident.

“We pay for our education just like everyone else, so to see something like that in the morning on our way to class, it’s caused outrage and pain,” she said.

READ MORE: Column: Why I can’t be silent anymore when you call me the n-word