Students sit in solidarity after racial slur appears in Drexel dorm

Andrew Kramer
February 22, 2019 - 8:22 pm

Andrew Kramer/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) - Drexel University students were distraught to learn via a letter this week that a racial slur was written on the dorm room door of an African-American student.

So around 100 of those students decided to stand together against hate -- or in this case sit together -- Friday afternoon in protest.

"It's ridiculous that someone would attack somebody else based on their skin tone," said junior Izzy. "It's just so heartbreaking."

She attended the sit in at the Main Building on campus where students gathered in a circle and didn't speak for about a half an hour. 

Junior Shelby Ingram told KYW Newsradio that she went on a whim after just learning what happened.

"It's something that shouldn't be put in the shadows," she said. "And seeing everyone come together no matter what race they are, this isn't against hating Drexel or anything, it's just showing we all need to support each other and there's no room for hate."

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Drexel leaders were on hand for the sit in. They did not take part, but they also did not interfere with what the students were doing. 

KYW's request for comment from Drexel was met with a copy of the letter that was sent to students, which states that "Drexel has a zero tolerance policy toward harassment of any kind."

Junior Kennedy Jackmon, who helped organize the sit in, says she does not feel that a letter is enough.

"We just wanted Drexel to keep up with the zero tolerance policy," she said. "Nothing in the email was expressed as to what was going to be done for the person or people who committed the hate crime, because it was a hate crime."

Jackmon hopes this is just the beginning, and wants a town hall with Drexel administrators to be scheduled where this issue can be addressed further.


You can read the full letter Drexel sent to students below:

Dear Member of the Drexel Community:

The diversity of our community plays a significant role in the success of Drexel University and its students, faculty and professional staff. One of the core principles upon which our University was founded is the commitment to provide a welcoming, inclusive and respectful environment. Such an environment helps strengthen our competencies to live and work in a diverse and global society.

This week, I was deeply distressed to learn of an incident that occurred in one of our residence halls, in which hateful language was placed on the door of an African American student. Whether this malicious act was a hate crime or just blatant ignorance, it is unacceptable and incompatible with the ethos of our University. Upon learning of the incident, the Drexel University Police Department (DUPD), the Office of Equality and Diversity (OED), and Student Life immediately began to gather information and reach out to the victim and other impacted students to offer every resource we have to ensure everyone is well-supported and safe.

The University encourages any individual who has been affected by or has witnessed discrimination, harassment, or a bias incident, including graffiti, to immediately report the incident to OED. For emergencies or after-hours reports, the University encourages all individuals to contact DUPD at (215) 895-2222. DUPD will share these reports with OED.

Drexel has a zero tolerance policy toward harassment of any kind. While we continue to find ways to strengthen the core value of inclusion, I encourage all members of our campus community to do their part to support diversity of all kinds and foster respect for others. In doing so, we will ensure that Drexel is a community that seeks the best from all of us.


John Fry