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UF Community Reacts To Racial Slurs Found In Classroom

University of Florida's Anderson Hall in Gainesville, Florida. (Ebyabe/Creative Commons)
University of Florida's Anderson Hall in Gainesville, Florida. (Ebyabe/Creative Commons)

Racist comments were discovered in Anderson Hall on the University of Florida campus Friday.

Images of the comments written on whiteboards in rooms 134 and 034 began to spread on social media among the UF community.

A statement released by the university on Friday said a student and a custodian found the writings early Friday morning.

"We are disturbed and disheartened to learn someone scrawled racist epithets on several whiteboards in Anderson Hall. The hateful messages were found this morning when students and custodial staff entered the classrooms. Statements and symbols of hate that hurt and disparage others are antithetical to our mission of creating a welcoming campus for all. Messages aimed at excluding people from university programs based on race or religion are discriminatory and have no place in our classrooms. We strive to build an environment that supports and encourages students to learn from each other and grow. We value the many backgrounds represented on our campus, and together, we can make the University of Florida a more supportive and caring place."

Shevon Cummings, a custodian in Anderson Hall, took two of the three original pictures, which spread around Facebook, according to Ido Oren, chair of the political science department.

The other picture was taken by a student who refused to be identified or comment on the story.

The slurs were discovered just before professor Richard Nolan's Friday morning class.

“Some students came in early to set up a Powerpoint presentation and it was written on the boards,” Nolan said. “A janitor came in and said there were also some words written on the board in the classroom above that one. I told my students to see me after class and we went up to see the chair [Oren]. He took their information down and emailed President Fuchs about it.”

UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes told WUFT that after Fuch’s received the email from Oren, he sent an email to student affairs and to campus police so they could investigate the source of the slurs. She also said University Police has increased patrols in the area around Anderson Hall and the investigation is ongoing.

She described the speech as hateful and hurtful to many people on campus.

“It’s unfortunate, but these are the kinds of things that are happening on university campuses nationwide,” Sikes said.

Natalie Cristobal, a UF business student, said it makes her uncomfortable, especially because she's a "student of color."

"I like to believe it’s a very small few people who are making those comments," Cristobal said. "A lot of them are doing it either for attention or because they think it’s funny. It doesn’t make it right, but that’s how I like to comfort myself.”

Levi Bradford was a reporter for WUFT News in 2017.