Flather Hall’s elevator was defaced on Friday, October 20th. Courtesy of CUA Residence LifeBy Duane Paul Murphy
A racial slur was found written on the wall of the Flather Hall elevator last week, leading to further discussion about racism and vandalism on campus at Catholic University. The incident occurred in the building’s sole elevator after midnight last Friday, October 20th.
According to Sarah Howell, community director of North Neighborhood II that consists of predominantly lowerclassmen residencies Ryan, Regan, and Flather Halls, vandalism was reported at around 1:49 AM Friday morning. A Department of Public Safety officer discovered the elevator with shaving cream sprayed all over it, displaying disturbing images that included a racial slur and male genitalia. Howell, along with Flather resident assistants and other administrators, called for a closed mandatory community meeting in the residence hall’s main lobby on Monday, October 23rd at 8 PM. In addition to the recent incident, the meeting discussed issues like overall vandalism and racism in the residency, toxic masculinity, and other emotional issues student residents face during their time on campus.
Howell said that drug usage, underage alcohol drinking, boredom, emotional distress, personal inabilities to cope with stress or anxiety, and peer pressure could be causes for the vandalism. Howell also stated that an increase in hall patrolling by residency and campus security could potentially decrease acts of vandalism or other forms of property damages going on in the residency.
“I am disappointed,” said Howell regarding her own personal reaction to the incident. “I think very highly of the students in Flather, and of the students here at CUA. I think when these things happen, it’s only a small portion of the students that are involved.”
The university’s community would later find out about the racial incident from an email sent out by the office of the university’s president, John Garvey.
“Though the images and the slurs are now wiped from our walls, the reactions they have prompted should remain at the forefront of our minds a bit longer,” Garvey said. “At the beginning of every academic year we pledge as a community to live in right relationship with one another. Today we should renew that pledge with steadfast sincerity and commitment.”
Students on campus have expressed shock and anger with the recent racial incident.
“This was a disgusting example of how little care issues of race are approached with,” said junior philosophy pre-law major Francisco Flores-Pourrat. “No matter what the freshman thought about his defacing of university property, his actions make him a racist.”