McWilliams: Colorado State has improved their response to hate crimes

Leta McWilliams

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

Racist graffiti and a mannequin head covered in swastikas were found in a dumpster outside of Moby Arena on Saturday. This is only one of many hate crimes to occur on Colorado State University’s campus since the beginning of the fall semester. However, CSU has greatly improved how they handle these hate crimes.


Before classes even began, there was a noose found in Newsom Hall that was believed to be targeted toward an African-American resident assistant living in the hall. There was also a wireless network in Durward Hall named “Fuck Jews.” In the same hall, the words “Hail Hitler” were written on a Jewish student’s door and a Snapchat was taken of a student with a swastika painted on their arm.

Earlier in the year, I wrote an article about how CSU was not handling these incidents with the severity that was necessary.  It seems since the initial incident in Newsom Hall, CSU has vastly improved the way that they are reacting to these acts of hate. 

When the noose was found, it took almost two weeks for President Tony Frank to make an announcement denouncing the behavior. Since then, CSU has been more adamant about responding to messages of hate and making it clear right away that these hate crimes are unacceptable. There were significant calls to action from students to address these racist actions, including a demonstration by students of color to bring awareness to the issues.

students stand in line facing each other
Colorado State University students stand in a line silently in demonstration and support for sophomore sociology major Elijah Thomas prior to a noose being hung in his residence hall. (Seth Bodine | Collegian)

After the Snapchat was posted on Durward’s Snapchat story, the students that were involved were identified, and the Director of Resident Life Laura Giles sent out an announcement.

Giles stated, “I am sharing this with all residence hall students to make it absolutely clear that this type of behavior is not acceptable in our residence hall community. As President Frank has shared several times this fall, all members of our campus community are expected to uphold the CSU Principles of Community, and acts like this have no place on our campus. I am asking you to actively participate to make it clear that this type of behavior is not who we are.”

This immediate response is what is needed after any hate crime that happens on campus.

The most recent incident to occur was racist graffiti and a mannequin head covered in swastikas found in a dumpster outside Moby Arena. Compared to the other hate crimes committed, this was the least offensive because it wasn’t in a place where anyone could see it and it wasn’t specifically targeting a single student. That being said, a hate crime is still a hate crime and should not be tolerated by any means. CSU’s Public Safety Team treated it as such, sending an announcement to students stating that this type of behavior should not be tolerated. CSU also launched an investigation.

Even though the hate crime was not targeting a specific person, seeing as it was in a dumpster, CSU treated it like it was, which was a necessary response. They treated the hate crime equally to one that was carried out to make a student feel threatened, which emphasizes the message that any type of hate speech isn’t tolerated at CSU.

Through CSU’s Public Safety Team announcements, Tony Frank’s announcements, articles written by CSU’s Collegian, and the actions of diversity groups, these acts of hate have been brought to the attention of the public. The Collegian has written many articles about these hate crimes, such as the articles about the noose in Newsom and the vandalized mannequin head. Students of color staged a demonstration against the racism at CSU. All parties have made it clear that these types of hate speech are not tolerated on this campus. 

Leta McWilliams can be reached at letters@collegian and online at @LetaMcWilliams