To the Wheaton community,
Our campus has been violated by vandalism in the form of graffiti expressing anti-Semitic slurs.
This morning residents of 17 Howard Street, the Jewish Life House, discovered crude and hateful graffiti on the back door of their home. I am told that this is the latest, and most visible, expression of hate to which these students have been subjected, but not the first. Offensive and derogatory remarks have been shouted from the street, as recently as Friday evening.
I want to be clear: this will not be tolerated. Wheaton is committed to appreciating, understanding and celebrating diversity. It is a core value of our institution, and it is essential to the liberal arts education that Wheaton provides. Our infused curriculum reflects the importance of this value to our learning environment. Every individual–student, faculty and staff member–has the right to feel welcomed and safe on our campus and in our community.
Speech that expresses hatred and bigotry can never be considered acceptable. Demeaning, degrading and offensive speech creates a hostile environment for those who are targeted by it, and it impoverishes our entire community by attempting to silence those with whom we may disagree. It also is a violation of the Wheaton Honor Code and our community standards (http://wheatoncollege.edu/about/honor-code/affirming-diversity/).
Anyone who has information about the hateful graffiti left at 17 Howard Street is encouraged to share it with Wheaton Public Safety Department (x8213) and/or to the Norton police (508-285-3300). Information about this and other bias incidents may also be reported to the Dean of Students Office (x8218).
Beyond that, I want to emphasize that we all have a role to play in rejecting hateful speech. I urge all members of the campus community to stand with me in condemning bias and hate. We will be organizing a campus meeting to discuss this incident and the importance of protecting the diversity that we value as a community. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.
Ronald A. Crutcher