A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NKU officials pledge full investigation of white nationalist graffiti spray-painted on ‘Housing Rock’

Northern Kentucky University has once again experienced vandalism in the form of racist graffiti spray painted on the large ‘Housing Rock” that contained a mural celebrating students of color at NKU. The rock is in a public space on campus used for promoting school spirit and painting positive images.

The graffiti included the words “Patriot Front,” a white nationalist hate group.

President Ashish Vaidya has promised a full investigation and Dr. Eddie Howard, Vice President of Student Affairs, has asked the University Police to increase patrols around the Rock.

President Vaidya’s statement:

“NKU will not tolerate the white supremacy graffiti defacing our campus today or any day. This latest act of vandalism is contrary to our core values and our commitment to fostering a more equitable, inclusive environment in which everyone is valued and free from discrimination of any kind. We will fully investigate these acts through the university’s Bias Response Protocol Team and immediately evaluate and refortify the security of our public spaces to better protect our residents and the campus community. This includes increasing University Police nightly patrols.
“NKU is privileged to serve more than 16,000 students with broad perspectives and world views from all walks of life. Our community cannot thrive when individuals are targeted because of the color of their skin, how they look, who they love, or how they identify themselves. We believe our campus is enriched by diversity in thought and experience gained by welcoming people from all backgrounds and perspectives. This is woven into the very fabric of what NKU stands for and holds dear. Every one of us in the NKU family must live these values every day. This is what drives our success and our purpose in a shared responsibility to create a welcoming place of hope and vibrancy for all of our students, faculty and staff.”
Vice President Howard expressed concern that a “known white supremacist hate group” is vandalizing the campus.

“I have asked University Police to increase patrols and surveillance coverage around the rock and other key areas on campus,” he said in a statement. “I have also tasked the Center for Student Inclusiveness to work on an incident response plan, which includes some long-term strategies that should involve constituents from the entire campus community. I asked the CSI team to come back with a comprehensive set of guidelines and a detailed plan for how to move forward.”
In addition, Howard ask the campus community to help me with a new, “Watch the Rock” campaign.

“Watch the Rock” will be a live-stream webcam to monitor activity around the rock 24 hours a day.

“I invite the entire campus community to help us protect our campus. If you see something, say something,” he said. “Our plan is to have the website up and running within the next couple of days, if not sooner. It is our responsibility to protect our campus and to show Norse campus unity.”

The Kentucky chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a press release condemning the racist graffiti.

Dr. Salah Shakir said, “It is a moral obligation to speak out whenever anti-Black racism, white supremacy or other forms of bigotry are displayed in our state or nationwide. Racist groups must learn that they are rejected by the overwhelming majority of Americans.”


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