Racial bias incident occurs on corner of Hanna and Locust St. late Wednesday night


A bias incident was reported late last night. At the corner of Hanna and Locust St., the occupants of a red vehicle yelled a racial slur at a student, according to an email from director of Public Safety Charlene Shrewsbury. 

Shrewsbury sent out an email at 3:11 a.m. and alerted the university community about the racial bias incident. “Cameras are being reviewed to locate and identify the vehicle. Additional officers have been called to campus to assist with overnight investigation and interviewing students.”

At 10:04 a.m. this morning, Public Safety tweeted a photo of the vehicle and asked students to contact them if they had any information.

However, the email or the tweet did not include what the racial threat was. Dean of students Myrna Hernandez said that the threat was race-based and aimed at black students. But she does not want to publicize the exact phrasing. “It’s hurtful and I don’t want to be repeating it,” Hernandez said in an interview with The DePauw.

Hernandez also said that the Bias Incident Report Team (BIRT) met this morning to discuss the bias incident and coordinate student support. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion staff met with Hernandez today as well to figure out how they would provide support for students of color at DePauw. “What I want students to know, and particularly black students but all students of color to know that we want you on this campus,” Hernandez said.

In an email sent to the DePauw community at 9:39 a.m., Vice President for Student Academic Life Alan Hill stated that the university condemns any form of racism. He also was “pleased to share that because the student quickly informed Public Safety of this threat, our Campus Police were able to meet with the student, review camera footage, and take immediate action steps that have led (to) a potential lead and location of the vehicle in question.”

The latest report states the investigation is currently ongoing, and Hernandez said that at some point today she would get an update from Shrewsbury and share that with the campus.