A hate crime was reported in North Hall around 8:30 a.m. by a resident assistant on Dec. 21, said FSUPD Sgt. Martin Laughlin. This marked the sixth hate crime of the fall semester.
According to a photo posted on Facebook by BSU President Destinee Morris, a door in North Hall was vandalized with black marker. Someone had written, “Pt 3 see you next semester n-word and sp*c fuck yall & fuck BSU.”
Following the hate crime, the University announced the reward for information leading to the identity of the person(s) responsible would increase from $1,000 to $5,000.
The money will be provided by members of the Board of Trustees, according to Dale Hamel, executive vice president.
Dan Magazu, director of communications, said in an email, “The hope is that the increased award will make it more likely that someone with information will come forward. I think it also demonstrates how serious the administration is about finding the culprit(s).”
At the Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 24, Millie González, interim chief officer of diversity, inclusion and community engagement, announced the FBI told FSUPD it would “not be able to assist any further” in the investigation.
González said she did not know why the FBI will no longer be involved, but she is trying to contact Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congresswoman Katherine Clark to see if anything can be done about it.
Laughlin said FSUPD is doing all it can to investigate the crimes. “But what we’re finding is that no one wants to talk about it. I mean, how many students are at FSU? Thousands. And I’m sure someone knows something. But even with the reward out there and our efforts, no one wants to say anything on it.”
In an email to students, President F. Javier Cevallos said, “It’s important to note that those with information who do not come forward, bear some responsibility for the racism that has gone on.”
Monét Johnson, a senior and North Hall resident, said, “It was on the sixth floor. It was my floor. My parents don’t pay for me to sit here and hang out around racists – they pay for me to get an education.”
Johnson said she contacted Residence Life over winter break to change her housing and was directed to email her resident director regarding a room change. According to Johnson, she was told she could change her floor.
Even if she changed her floor, she would still be living in the “building with the racists,” Johnson said. “Where am I going to move to? They’re in Towers. They’re in Larned. I’m sure they have friends in other places. It’s not safe anywhere.”
In an email to welcome students back from winter break, Cevallos highlighted events and initiatives the University has planned for the spring semester to help the campus learn and heal.
Notably, Bernice King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., will be coming to campus in February to give a lecture.
Cevallos said, “I wish I could guarantee that there will not be additional incidents of racism moving forward, but I cannot.”
He added, “We must acknowledge that structural racism remains prevalent in our institutions and can foster individual racist acts, but we can resist it by reaffirming the University’s commitment to our core values.”