U of L officials addressing issue of 'racial tension' inside hon - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L officials addressing issue of 'racial tension' inside honors residence hall

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville officials are addressing concerns about racial tension inside one of the university's residence halls.

An e-mail was sent on Saturday to U of L students by Neville Pinto, the university's Interim Executive Vice President and University Provost.

University spokesperson John Drees tells WDRB that Threlkeld Hall, the university's honors residence hall, is the one referenced in the email.

“It started with a few individuals saying something that really could’ve been kept to themselves,” said Bridget Kim, who lives in the dorm.

Kim and other students say the situation began during Fall semester, when some students spoke publicly about another student receiving a scholarship based only on race.

“We had a dorm-wide meeting, attempting to address it, and it honestly just blew it even further out of proportion,” Kim said.

Some students say this semester there were apparent racial slurs written on a whiteboard in the residence hall.

“Can’t deny that there have been issues with a few people, but it’s being handled for the most part, and definitely I don’t feel like there’s any big issues here, still,” said Tanner Gullett, another honors student living at Threlkeld.

Drees says no formal complaints have been filed.

WDRB has obtained a full copy of the email sent to students, which can be read below:

To the campus community,

In the past several weeks, we have been dealing with the issue of racial tension in one of our residence halls. Although limited to a relatively small number of students, any instance of disrespect and animosity is a cause of concern for all of us. 

We understand that our campus community comprises a blend of many backgrounds and attitudes. Just as our nation continues to struggle with issues of race, our university must deal with incidents that threaten to divide us. 

We have been dealing with it.  The university has taken a number of steps to resolve the issue. These include:

Conducting training with all RAs over the winter break on racial and ethnic stereotypes and broadening awareness

Meeting with groups of students who expressed concern as well as those identified as instigators

Meeting with faculty and staff that work with the impacted students to discuss how they can help

Notifying students who have raised concerns of their option to bring formal allegations of Code of Student Conduct violations

Offering to move any student feeling uncomfortable to other residence halls

Conducting a building-wide meeting to discuss diversity awareness

Holding a second meeting with students more directly impacted by the events

This is a start, but we aren’t stopping here. Based on the recommendations we’ve received, we will incorporate more and better diversity training into our student programming. If aggrieved students file formal complaints, we will investigate and take appropriate actions.

More important, we will learn from this and other incidents, and we will use our learning to continue to build a community where someday such instances simply won’t happen.

Neville Pinto
Interim Executive Vice President and University Provost

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