Living to learn about hate

Students in the Living/Learning Center (L/L) may walk into the bathroom to find “Islam is a disease” carved into the wall. Bias incidents toward the Muslim community plagued L/L recently, according to an e-mail sent out to residents last week. A bias incident is defined as behavior that is motivated by bigotry and prejudice regarding a person’s real or perceived race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, gender, age, disability or gender identity and/or expression, the e-mail stated. “Bias incidents … negatively impact the health of the Living/Learning community and we take them very seriously,” Residence Director Vu Tran said. Some examples of bias are verbal or physical harassment, stalking, graffiti and name calling, according to the e-mail. RAs have been sponsoring community circles in every column of L/L over the course of the week to provide a vehicle for conversation, reaction and response to the recent events, the e-mail stated. Students were encouraged to attend the meetings to provide support to fellow community residents, the e-mail stated. “While we are disappointed and saddened by these bias incidents, we are also hopeful that engaging in conversation will help make us all more conscious and aware of how they impact our community,” Tran said. In addition, a number of resources were provided in the e-mail in the event that a student is a witness or victim to future bias incidents. These resources included Police Services, Counseling and Psychiatry, Spiritual and Religious Life, the Women’s Center, LGBTQA Center, ALANA Student Center and the Dean of Students Office, the e-mail stated.