When there is a scandal at a major organization, many will go into crisis management mode and try to bury it so the public doesn’t know what happened. It’s more difficult to look it in the face.
Central Michigan University was recently faced with an awful racist incident. Instead of “managing” the situation and sweeping it under the rug, the administration handled it head-on to let everyone know it would not be tolerated — and the students followed suit.
Recently, CMU student Yasmeen Duncan came home to an anonymous, racist note left on the whiteboard she and her roommates hung outside their dorm room. All three students in the dorm suite are African American, and the message was clearly targeting them; this was no random occurrence.
Yasmeen and her roommates reported the incident and the school’s president, Bob Davies, promptly alerted students to the incident and shared a message assuring students that “racism, misogyny, bigotry, and hatred will not be tolerated on this campus.”
Fellow students quickly followed suit, flocking to their classmates’ dorm and covering their door with notes of love, encouragement, and support.
The very spot where there had once been a message of hate was now covered in love.
Additionally, a regularly planned “Pizza with the President” night became a forum for students to speak directly to Davies about the incident and share their feelings. After the event, student groups came together to host a candlelit rally they called “We Will Stand Together” to support the girls. Hundreds of faculty, staff, and students came together in solidarity and love.
A Facebook post from the University about the rally put it this way: “Words meant to divide had the opposite effect.”
Yasmeen and her roommates have expressed gratitude to everyone who has shown them so much love. “The support is overwhelming and beautiful guys!” wrote Yasmeen. “This is only the beginning.”
Share Yasmeen’s story with your friends to help celebrate CMU’s response and inspire change!
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