Friday, September 23, 2016

WSU police investigate graffiti with the N-word and "Trump 2016"

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 10:04 AM

click to enlarge Student Haniyyah Dixon tweeted this picture of what she saw in the basement of a WSU library - HANIYYAH DIXON
Haniyyah Dixon
Student Haniyyah Dixon tweeted this picture of what she saw in the basement of a WSU library

Haniyyah Dixon, a WSU student, says she was walking around the basement of the library with her boyfriend Wednesday when she saw the N-word written above "— TRUMP 2016."

She gasped, she says, then left the Terrell Library and called her dad, "because I was really upset." Her dad told her to tell somebody in the library, but instead she posted the picture on Twitter, writing to WSU President Kirk Schulz's account, "If you let the Republican Student Union build that 'wall,' in my eyes this is what you will be supporting." 

She was referring to the WSU College Republicans' plan to build a controversial "Trump wall" in October supporting Donald Trump. It would likely resemble a plywood wall erected at the University of Washington earlier this year in support of Trump's plan to build a wall along the southern border to halt illegal immigration.

"I think I tweeted that picture more out of anger than I did anything else, just to show that it was happening," Dixon says.

The school has since removed the graffiti. Schulz retweeted the image and wrote, "This is completely unacceptable at WSU & does not represent the inclusive & diverse environment we all strive for." 

Melynda Huskey, WSU vice president of student affairs, says she sent a photo of the message to WSU police. 

Steve Hansen, assistant WSU police chief, says police are conducting an investigation.

"We will look into it the best we can," Hansen says. "I'm not sure what, if any, leads we have at the moment."

Dixon, even though she mentioned the WSU College Republicans' plan to build a Trump wall, says she doesn't think anyone in the club wrote the epithet, and doesn't think the club is racist. But she says Trump makes it OK for people to say racist things like that. 

"People have freedom of speech, but some things you shouldn't put in a library," Dixon says. "I just felt like them being able to build that wall, that only supports what people think about Trump, or what Trump thinks about people of color." 

James Allsup, the club's president, says he and the "entirety of WSU College Republicans disavow this kind of vandalism," adding that, "racial epithets have no place in the political discourse." 

"I also believe that accusations of racism, Nazism, and bigotry have no place in the political discourse and would call on our political opponents on campus to choose their words carefully," Allsup says. 

Allsup says the handwriting on the racial slur "appears to be feminine" while the handwriting on the bottom that reads "Trump 2016," looks more masculine, and he hopes the school finds out who wrote the words. 

WSU says there are no security cameras in the area where the message was written. 

Dixon, from Tacoma, says she thinks the graffiti was put there to elicit some sort of reaction. She says it saddened her even if whoever did it thought of the graffiti as a joke. 

"I couldn't believe that somebody I was going to school with thinks like that," Dixon says. 

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Wilson Criscione

Wilson Criscione, born and raised in Spokane, is an Inlander staff writer covering education and social services in the Inland Northwest.