PHOTO COURTESY OF KENIA CALDERON
BY JESS LYNK
Two days before the election, posters were taped up on two latina students’ first-year dorm room with sayings like “make a wall,” “women are unfit to be president” and “Vote for Trump.”
Four students came forward and admitted to taping up the posters. Drake Provost Sue Mattison emailed students Tuesday afternoon, informing students of this news.
Mattison wrote in the email that the university was “able to immediately initiate emergency suspension from the residence halls.”
She added that this meant that the four perpetrators have moved out of their dorms.
The university is charging the students with “serious violations” of the Drake Code of Student Conduct. They will face disciplinary actions, according to Mattison’s email.
The university is not allowed to comment further on the investigation, according to Interim Dean of Students Dr. Jerry Parker.
Chelsi Barraza, one of the three girls who lived in the dorm, sent a picture of the door through Snapchat with the caption “look what someone did to my door.” Senior Kenia Calderon shared the photo on Facebook, which garnered over 500 shares and 1,000 Facebook ‘reactions’ less than a day later.
Barraza shared the post and said: “Today someone did this to my door. As soon as I saw it I had a panic attack because I could not believe that someone could come and do this to me. I am proud to be a woman and I am proud to be Hispanic. #lovetrumpshate.”
“I was immediately taken aback by them and didn’t know what to do,”Barraza said. “I called my friends and members of La Fuerza Latina as well as one of the RAs for our residence hall.”
The administration was alerted to the incident via an email containing the screenshot Monday morning.
“Both the administration and the students have been incredibly supportive,” Barraza said. “The administration is making sure that resources are available to me and I have the support of two student organizations here on campus.”
Sue Mattison, the provost at Drake, sent out an email just before 11 a.m. to let students know that Drake condemns the actions.
“The messages were a direct attack on women and people of color, and in support of a presidential candidate,” Mattison said. “While we now understand there have been prior incidents of this type, this is the first that we were aware of these messages. Please know we want to be informed when anything like this occurs, so that we can take appropriate action.”
Mattison noted that President Marty Martin, Director of Public Safety Scott Law and herself met with a student involved in the incident to assure her safety.
Mattison also said that the incident was under investigation, saying “we are working to find the individual(s) who committed this horrible act, and will bring a just resolution to the matter.”
Student Body President Thalia Anguiano put out a statement in regards to the acts around 11 a.m. on the student senate’s Facebook page.
“As a Latina, I take offense to the vandalism done on the student’s door last night. It is racist, sexist, exclusive and ignorant,” Anguiano said in the statement. “I won’t speak on behalf of all students of color on campus but I will say that my experiences, along with listening to the experiences of my peers that this behavior makes me feel unsafe and unwelcome on this campus.”
Anguiano also added that public safety is investigating the incident and those who have any information can call 515-271-2222 or anonymously at https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/24191/
Barraza wants any student who saw the action or may know something regarding the incident to come forward.
In addition to a strong condemnation from multiple levels of the Drake University administration, Interim Dean of Students Dr. Jerry Parker says there is a thorough investigation ongoing. Parker said because they are still working to find the person(s) responsible. He was unable to comment further in regards to the investigation.
Due to the outpouring of social media, there is a likelihood that this is some people’s first impressions of Drake. Parker says to those people, “this is not who we are.”
“We are neglecting to realize that we all are human and that our words hurt and our actions hurt,” Parker said.
Parker and other administration officials will be spending Monday evening meeting with student leaders across campus.
“We are doing all we can to support the students who have been impacted,” Parker said. “We are trying to make campus know we are doing all we can to get some resolve.”
Barraza believes the campus community has been supportive towards her, but that this support needs to outreach to others.
“I want everyone to keep being supportive of each other because this not only affects me, but other students of color and women as well,” Barraza said. “We will not be silent about this. This is something that targeted me, and effects every student here at Drake. This type of behavior is unacceptable and it is our responsibility as students and as a community to make sure it will not happen again.”
Jake Bullington contributed to this article.