Viterbo University students and staff hold demonstration to show support for student targeted by racist messages

Classes from 12:30 to 1:50 were cancelled Thursday to allow students and staff and participate

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Viterbo University leaders are investigating racist messages that were written on a black student’s dorm room door.

They messages were written in Sharpie.

They include, “get out of our school” and “you’re a bad person because you’re black.”

Students and staff showed up in large numbers on campus Thursday in support of the student and minorities and throughout the community.

“I am the student this happened to,” the victim said in her speech during the demonstration.

The freshman at Viterbo, who we’re not naming, says she first laughed at the hateful comments written on her dorm room door.

“I thought it was a joke,” she said. “But then it happened again.”

Eventually realizing she was the target of racism.

“It’s really scary to wake up in the morning, open your door, and there’s a writing of hate on your door,” she said.

Viterbo3 11

The university is investigating racist comments on a black student’s dorm room door

And now the university and beyond is reaching out in arms.

“We are here today just to stand in solidarity with that student and our other BIPOC students,” organizer Rachael Armstrong said.

Armstrong and a couple other students helped organize a demonstration at the Assisi Courtyard on campus in support of the student and other people of color.

“We’re denying racism and hate has no home here,” Armstrong said.

She is calling for the person who wrote the remarks to be expelled.

“We no longer want people like this on our campus who are going to foster hate and who are going to threaten the safety and education of others,” Armstrong said.

Viterbo University president Glena Temple says what happened was a crime.

“Obviously everyone’s distraught, everyone’s upset,” Temple said. “This is unacceptable behavior on our campus.”

The incident this week wasn’t the first time there were hate-filled messages written on campus.

“Earlier this semester on Martin Luther King Day, some flyers were posted around campus criticizing the speaker for our Martin Luther King Day events,” Temple said.

She says the flyers also questioned Viterbo’s support for the LGBTQ+ community.

“But I’m here to tell you we completely believe as Viterbo University, we support all of our students,” Temple said.

The victim is asking for that support.

“Do I look like a bad person to you?,” the student asked, with the crowd responding with a loud “no.”

She is asking for support not just from the community, but also from the one responsible for the hate-messages.

“Whoever it is, you better come out and confess anonymously,” she said. “Or if we catch you, pray to the God almighty.”

The student targeted by the racist messages also said during her speech that her parents are making her leave the university because of the incident.

Classes from 12:30 to 1:50 were cancelled Thursday so that students and staff could participate in the demonstration.