Racial Slur on EMU's Ford hall

A racial slur targeting the black community was spray painted at Eastern Michigan University on the east exterior wall of Ford Hall, Oct. 31, 2016.


A racial slur targeting the black community was spray painted at Eastern Michigan University on the east exterior wall of Ford Hall on the morning of Oct. 31. This incident is the third racial slur that has been reported on EMU’s campus since late September.

Following the discovery of the racial slur a letter was issued by email to all EMU students and employees addressed from EMU President James Smith.

“The deeper and systemic issues that are behind these incidents continue to be a focus for our student leaders, our faculty, our administration and all who care about this institution and the welfare of our students,” said President Smith. “These incidents run counter to the values and mission of the University, and our actions over the past several weeks and going forth have and will continue to reflect that,” he stated.

At 3 p.m. on Oct. 31 EMU Center for Multicultural Affairs and Diversity and Community Involvement partnered with Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Calvin Phillips and Assistant Vice President of Student Well-Being Ellen Gold to host an intimate meeting with student leaders. In the meeting the members of administration took a back seat and facilitated a space for students to express concerns and potential remedies.

"I think its important to look at all the allies across the university no matter their race or enthnicity," said Ellen Gold. "We need to begin to create a comrade of allies that we can go to made up of faculty, students, staff and administration.We need a comprehensive plan so that we don't look disjointed. This is just a starting point," she continued. 

The words were removed from the wall, and there has been no statement issued from EMU Public Safety regarding any footage being captured on video surveillance. The $5,000 reward for the previous incidents has been increased to $10,000 and applies to information leading to an arrest in most recent incident. All three incidents are still under investigation.

Over the weekend EMU student Torey Brown reported a separate incident of racist speech in the elevator of Hoyt Hall, an EMU Residence Hall. She reported the incident to her Resident Adviser. The occurrence of this incident was not conveyed to the student body via email in the manner the the prior incidents were conveyed.

“We can talk about race and all that later, this is life threatening. Historically, when this stuff happens we know it's not just a conversation starter," said Alexcia Yelder, EMU student. "This is not the gateway for race related discussions. I want us to be safe. I was just at Ford Hall last night, and what if I walked by the person doing it? I can't even think,” she continued.

The University has opened The Intersection the day of the incident for any student who wanted to stop in to share their thoughts or concerns. The Intersection was created following "The Black Student 10-Point Plan," as a common space for underrepresented students and is located in the Student Center, Rm 266.

“Student leaders need to inform students about what's going on, and we need to stay vigilant for all of our safety because some people lack intelligence and may try something,” said Nick Holmes-McGowan, EMU student.

Calvin Philips has been actively communicating with student leaders and assured that he and other faculty will continue dialogue that moves the University towards remedies. 

EMU Faculty put together a peaceful rally that will take place outside Ford Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 2, and partnered with Student Body Government to host a Teach-in that will be held on Nov. 14.

Call 734-487-1222 to contact EMU Police and 734-487-4847 for the tip line.

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