Student will undergo sanctions in Community Standards after University investigation
The first-year student who left human feces in front of a dorm room door in Humbert Hall formally claimed responsibility for the act and stated to The DePauw that he chose the student’s door at random.
The student, who asked to remain anonymous, said in an email to The DePauw, “I just made a really stupid mistake with a couple of guys.”
Two students found a paper towel with human feces in front of their dorm room door in Humbert around 4 p.m. on Saturday. According to Angela Nally, director of Public Safety, any time they get a call, a police officer and member of Campus Living and Community Development (CLCD) are dispatched to the scene to gather more information. “The investigation will unfold depending on what information is gathered in the initial contact,” Nally said.
Alan Hill, vice president of student academic life, is in charge of taking measures to keep students safe on campus. “I took interim measures not knowing the intent of the situation,” said Hill. “My focus was general student safety,” Hill said in cases like this, he activates groups like the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) and resident assistants (RA) to allow them to be prepared for the outcome.
Although the victims have not been formally identified by the University, a campus email from Public Safety notified the DePauw community that the incident was being reported to BIRT. At a meeting held at the Cultural Resource Center (CRC) on Saturday night and another meeting held by DePauw Student Government (DSG) on Sunday, University administrators confirmed to students in the audience that both victims identify as racial minorities.
The student who committed the act said his motivation was not racial. “The door was completely random,” said the student. “I had no idea who was in there. Race wasn’t a factor in what happened.”
In the email, he said the door was chosen because there was a party going on and he wanted to check it out with his friends. “My friends and I went to check it out, and that’s when the not-so-funny prank idea came into fruition,” he said. “It wasn’t an act of retaliation because the party wasn’t upsetting; we were just playing a prank.”
In the email, the student also claimed he wasn’t under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
Hill told The DePauw the investigation is still in the primary stage at Public Safety and will go to Community Standards after the initial investigation concludes. “There is a process that is outlined in the DePauw student handbook and that’s what we’re following,” Hill said. “Even though I’m the vice president of student academic life, I don’t know all of the facts.”
Nally told The DePauw there are no pending criminal charges which mean the case will not be public record and no details of the case can be released.
President Mark McCoy sent an email to the campus community in which he stated, “This was a repugnant act that violates everything for which DePauw stands.” In the email, President McCoy stated he had met personally with both students directly affected by the incident.
In response to the incident, DSG held an open meeting to students in the student organization space on Sunday night. Students were given copies of DePauw’s five-year plan for diversity and inclusion and the 2015-2016 Annual Report of Diversity and Equity. Dorian Shager, the dean of campus life, answered questions students in regards to the incident and diversity and inclusion on campus.
This is the second year in a row where a bias incident has occurred within the first week of the academic year. In fall of 2016, a racial slur was written on a student’s whiteboard on their dorm room door, and the name tags on the doors of students of color living on Humbert 2 were removed. No suspects have been identified by Public Safety regarding the past incident.
In response to last year’s incident, an initiative to put cameras in residence halls was put into action. “The wiring for cameras has been installed and the implementation of cameras is currently happening,” Hill said. “Cameras did play a role in identifying those who were involved.”
Senior Student Body President Erika Killion went to the CRC the night of the incident and attended the DSG meeting the next day. She met with students who were distressed and told The DePauw that DSG is working on initiatives and resolutions in response to diversity and inclusion.
Killion said she was frustrated to have a bias incident occur for the second year in a row. “It shouldn’t happen ever and not only did it happen, but it felt like it wasn’t a surprise to have it happen,” Killion said.
The student who committed the act is a legacy student at DePauw. Both his father and father’s parents attended the University. In his email, he wrote that he has an adopted sister who is half-Hispanic and personally witnessed the pain she felt because of bullying due to her darker skin tone, “I don’t think I could ever do anything like that to another student, especially at the school that I love.”