Wittenberg University's Concerned Black Students group held its 45th annual Walkout event this week. The event commemorates a 1969 incident when 38 of the school's 45 black students walked off campus when they alleged the university failed to address their concerns about unequal treatment.
This year, students were upset about a racial slur painted on the fountain at the entrance of the university in late March. They complained that Wittenberg appeared to be insensitive about the graffiti and it took nearly three weeks to have it removed.
Interim Dean of Students Casey Stevens admits that the university mishandled the situation.
"We openly admit that there was an error on our end. That we did not address it appropriately. The police department and our physical plant staff communicated about it, but I think that there was just some errors in getting it removed in a timely manner," Stevens said.
Initial efforts by Wittenberg to remove the remark were unsuccessful, but Stevens believes that this week's Walkout event helped students express their feelings about the graffiti.
"They were able to embrace the event to address some of the feelings that have occurred over the last couple of weeks, I should say hurt feelings, but really use it as a proactive way to say that we're collaborating with the university to move forward to make sure that we are an inclusive environment that addresses these issues in an meaningful way," Stevens said.
Stevens says the administration is working hard to increase efforts on campus to prevent acts of intolerance or feelings of marginalization among students and staff.