Students voice concerns over racial graffiti - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Students voice concerns over racial graffiti

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Racial graffiti on greenhouse outside SIU's Life Science 2 building. Racial graffiti on greenhouse outside SIU's Life Science 2 building.
Some students at Southern Illinois University are voicing concerns over apparent acts of racism on and off campus. Some students at Southern Illinois University are voicing concerns over apparent acts of racism on and off campus.
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CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

Some students at Southern Illinois University are voicing concerns over apparent acts of racism on and off campus.

The most recent act causing great concern is graffiti found on a campus greenhouse that said "kill" and included a racial slur.

The SIU Black Affairs Council sent out a letter [Read the letter here] condemning the act as well as citing several other instances of racism and discrimination members of the group say occurred throughout the semester.

One student Heartland News spoke with says he's never felt discriminated against in the classroom, but the streets of southern Illinois are a different story.

"You can drive around and see confederate flags in some parts of Southern Illinois," said Nicholas Simpson, president of the Iota Phi Theta Fraternity. "That's something we reported that we don't feel comfortable with because the confederate flag represents slavery. When you can still see that in 2012 it does not surprise me you can see racial graffiti somewhere."

[Read Simpson's open letter to the university here]

In a mass email sent to students, staff and faculty last week SIU Chancellor Rita Cheng said she was "deeply disturbed" by the racially insensitive graffiti.

[Read Chancellor Chang's response here]

The chancellor goes on to say: "We will continue to respond quickly and aggressively to specific reports of such behavior, but we can only do so if relevant information is shared with our department of public safety."

"Remaining idle only perpetuates the hostile climate that exists and duplicates the silence from the university's leadership, " SIU Senior and Black Advisory Council member Kwalee Kemp said in a statement to Heartland News. "My ultimate wish is that the university would simply acknowledge our concerns and work with us to combat these issues in order to create an environment that is safe and welcoming for all."

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