Update Provided on Racial Incident in Residence Hall

4 min read

Jack P. Carroll ’24

News Editor

In an email addressed to students, faculty, and staff Monday morning, Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina announced that Campus Safety and the Office of Student and Community Life have identified and adjudicated the student(s) involved in the Mar. 27 residence hall incident. 

In his update to the community, DiChristina indicated that the College cannot share the results of the investigation as “Outcomes of student disciplinary processes at Trinity are protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as they are at all colleges and universities in the country.” 

DiChristina further reported that the Campus Climate Incident Response Team (CCIRT) is hosting a series of conversations with students this week to “give students a space to dialogue about campus climate.” A Community Check-in discussion will be held with Student and Community Life staff on Thursday, Apr. 15 at 6:30 pm via Zoom. In addition, a dialogue about Toxic Classroom Environments is planned for Saturday, Apr. 17 from 12 pm to 1 pm (reservations required). 

In an emailed response to the Tripod, DiChristina declined to respond to requests for comment stating that “Because that this case [sic] is part of a disciplinary process, I do not have further comments.” 

In March, the Tripod reported on student frustrations after a rotten banana peel was taped to the door of a residence hall room belonging to a student of color on the night of Saturday, Mar. 27. Several students who spoke to the Tripod indicated that the incident had occurred in the Jones dormitory. 

DiChristina previously told the Tripod that Campus Safety immediately went to the residence hall after it was informed of the incident. The sergeant met with the affected student and interviewed nearby residents to obtain relevant information and identify anyone who may have witnessed the incident. Further, DiChristina noted that there were no cameras in the residence hall that could have recorded the event. 

In a Mar. 28 email to students, faculty, and staff, DiChristina, President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney, and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Anita Davis stated that “While the specific intent and motivations of the individual(s) involved are still to be determined, the act is disturbing and wholly unacceptable in its apparent targeting of a student of color with a racist trope.” 

However, students who spoke with the Tripod indicated that they were not satisfied with the College’s response to the incident. 

One anonymous student expressed their disappointment to the Tripod regarding the College’s response: “Their email stated that the ‘intentions were unknown.’ This shows that our administration is sympathizing with the perpetrator of this action. Not addressing it as a racially incited incident is just playing to the side of whoever did it.” Further, the student commented that “Though the school says that they will ‘do everything’ in their power to make this a more welcoming place, there obviously hasn’t been enough done because these occurrences will keep happening until someone in the administration addresses this as a real problem.”

Sophomore Class President Jason Farrell, Jr. ’23 informed the Tripod via email that “while our campus has made progress towards being a safer environment for BIPOC students, this incident clearly demonstrates that we have a lot more work to do.” Farrell further added that, “Regardless of how many DEI trainings and community talks we have, we cannot prevent encountering the harmful views that exist beyond Trinity’s walls and the school cannot always control the actions of students. However, the school can control the way we, as students, uphold our community values on campus. I hope our administration is purposeful in its response to this blatantly racist act.”

In an emailed response to the Tripod, Martin Martinez ’24 stated that “No one should feel unsafe or uncomfortable walking around campus or being themselves. Actions need to be taken and people need to be held accountable. The POC at Trinity are no longer going to stand down and let things slide.” Martinez also noted that “Trinity’s response as an institution now will determine if they choose to stick to the goals and promises they claimed to make during last year’s debacle.”

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