Bias incident sparks demonstration


(Keyla Beebe)

Climbing onto the tabletops of the Caf on Dec. 8, students shouted news of the graffitied swastika found Dec. 5 on a trashcan outside Frank Family Science Center. 

Seven students performed a guerilla theater demonstration to advertise the Dec. 8 Community Senate meeting. The Dec. 9 learn-in was scheduled to further address the incident. The learn-in highlighted three main steps to combat bias incidents and hate crimes, and clarified the difference between the two.

 Earlier this fall, a swastika was etched into a resident’s dorm door in Binford Hall. The community spoke out against this by signing a poster and performing a candle lighting ceremony.

“This has happened before,” said senior Ben MacDonald. “It’s a big thing and a lot of people don’t know about it. We considered a candle light vigil or tabling. The thing is, only people who know about it will come. We wanted to attract everyone.”

 “We need to project that Guilford doesn’t accept these acts,” said sophomore Ali Krantzler, president of Hillel. “We wanted to be as spontaneous as possible and shock everyone.”

To raise awareness to the incident, Guilford has been open to the media.

“This is very unique to Guilford,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow. “Find another college in the Piedmont Triad that is open to media coming in when something bad happens.” 

Fetrow stressed the importance of student action in these situations. 

“I can’t trumpet the importance of the issue, that would be ingenuous,” said Fetrow. “This is a community issue, a student issue.” 

The Community Senate met that night and discussed the incident and forms of action. 

“Last time, everyone kept saying ‘Where’s the administration?'” said Community Senate President Dana Hamdan at the meeting. “‘Why is no one acting?’ The difference this time is that students took action.” 

The response to this incident is a tribute to student involvement and equality within the Guilford community. 

“This time it went down a really different way,” said senior Meredith Luby at the Community Senate meeting. “The student response was overwhelmingly positive. It shows how we are living the core values every day.

The demonstration, lasting no more than a minute, was the first of a number of events this week that will address racial bias on campus.

“I like they way they did it,” said first-year Olivia Villalon. “It was a very upfront method and it caught people’s attention.”