At St. Olaf, students of color have become victims of hate crimes. For some time now, a student or group of students have been purposefully writing the ‘N’ word all over campus. Some of these have also been telling the black students through notes for them to go away. In response to these incidents, the administration made some effort to send out solidarity emails, but the student body felt that this was not enough and demands more.
St. Olaf is being marketed as a community, so any type of incident that does not reflect this is ignored until they get too big that people start to notice. Since the beginning of the year, the N-word incident has already been happening. This was scribbled in the science building, student dorms, and the library. Some black students reported that their cars were also the subject of interest; their vehicles had the N-word scribbled in these and they also received hate notes anonymously.
According to Jenny Huong Dao, an Asian student in St. Olaf, she understood what the black students were going through as a result of her own experience in joining academic and extracurricular activities. Jenny says that racism indeed does exist.
On April 29th, one woman found a racial slur, demanding that she shut up or else the person who wrote the slur will shut her up. Following the incident, students rushed over and swarmed the interior of the Buntrock Commons on the Northfield campus. Student Amanda Vergara who also attended the rally says that this was the third time that a black student was threatened that week. The balconies and main floor of the Buntrock commons was filled up with protesters.
Jenny Huong Dao says that the lockdown prompted many students to speak up and that it was their message that the student body will no longer tolerate the perpetrators of discrimination.