College Administration Responds to Racial Incident in Residence Hall; Students Want Accountability

4 min read

Kip Lynch ’22

Executive Editor

Jack P. Carroll ’24

News Editor

Trinity students have recently taken to social media to express their frustrations after a rotten banana was taped to the door of a residence hall room belonging to a student of color on the night of Saturday, Mar. 27. Several students who spoke directly to the Tripod indicated that the incident occurred in the Jones dormitory.

Members of the College’s administration confirmed that Campus Safety and the Office of Student Life and Community Standards are currently investigating the incident in an email addressed to students, faculty, and staff on Sunday, Mar. 28. In the email, President of the College Joanne Berger-Sweeney; Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Anita Davis; and Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina stated that “While the specific intent and motivations of the individual(s) involved are still to be determined, the act is disturbing and wholly unacceptable in its apparent targeting of a student of color with a racist trope.”

In an email to the Tripod, DiChristina indicated that Campus Safety immediately went to the residence hall after it was informed of the incident. DiChristina indicated that the sergeant met with the affected student and interviewed nearby residents to obtain relevant information and identify anyone who may have witnessed the incident.

When asked about the student response to the incident, DiChristina stated that “We have heard from students that they are very upset that this incident took place on their campus. As President Berger-Sweeney, Dr. Anita Davis, and I stated in our message on March 28, behaviors like this are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Our new policy on non-discrimination provides guidance on how a matter like this will be adjudicated if and when the individual(s) are identified.”

In response to questions about how Trinity plans to address related events in the future, DiChristina noted that “The Campus Safety Incident Response Team will meet this week to discuss plans for a community response to the incident… Also, the work of the DEI office… is on-going.” DiChristina also noted that there are no cameras in the residence hall that could have recorded the event.

Courtesy of a member of the Class of 2024.

Anita Davis, the College’s Director of Diversity, could not be reached for comment. 

Class President Jason Farrell, Jr. ’23 informed the Tripod via email that “while our campus has made progress towards being a safer environment for BIPOC students, this incident clearly demonstrates that we have a lot more work to do.” Farrell further added that, “Regardless of how many DEI trainings and community talks we have, we cannot prevent encountering the harmful views that exist beyond Trinity’s walls and the school cannot always control the actions of students. However, the school can control the way we, as students, uphold our community values on campus. I hope our administration is purposeful in its response to this blatantly racist act.”

In an emailed response to the Tripod, Martin Martinez ’24 stated that “No one should feel unsafe or uncomfortable walking around campus or being themselves. Actions need to be taken and people need to be held accountable. The POC at Trinity are no longer going to stand down and let things slide.” Martinez also noted that “Trinity’s response as an institution now will determine if they choose to stick to the goals and promises they claimed to make during last year’s debacle.”

An anonymous student expressed their disappointment to the Tripod regarding the College’s response: “Their email stated that the ‘intentions were unknown.’ This shows that our administration is sympathizing with the perpetrator of this action. Not addressing it as a racially incited incident is just playing to the side of whoever did it.” Further, the student commented that “Though the school says that they will ‘do everything’ in their power to make this a more welcoming place, there obviously hasn’t been enough done because these occurrences will keep happening until someone in the administration addresses this as a real problem.”

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