Updated on 1/10/19 at 1:10 p.m.
Elon University students and administration are struggling to find answers after anti-Semitic and racist terms and images were found written on a whiteboard last night.
Around 9:45 p.m., Campus Recreation student workers found swastikas, male genitalia, racial slurs and references to the Ku Klux Klan written on a whiteboard in Koury Athletic Center, according to Larry Mellinger, director of Campus Recreation.
“Our student employees on shift acted quickly and decisively to have the whiteboard removed from public view, and notified appropriate professional staff and authorities immediately,” Mellinger wrote in an email to Campus Recreation staff.
In a statement, Patterson called the incident “highly offensive and not in keeping with our community’s standards and values.”
Neither Mellinger nor Patterson knows who wrote these words and images. In his email to Campus Recreation staff, Mellinger said the incident directly contrasts his department’s values to diversity and inclusion.
“While I am saddened that our commitment was tested by someone who does not hold those same values, I am proud of our response and continued commitment to ensuring all members of our community feel safe and welcome in our spaces and programs,” he wrote.
According to Jana Lynn Patterson, dean of students, Mellinger filed a bias incident report.
Sophomore Halle Brennan said she took direct offense to the photos she saw of the board.
“My mom’s father was directly impacted by the Holocaust, so ... he came to the United States from Poland,” Brennan said. “It’s disrespectful to me and sad that Elon students even think that that’s OK.”
Sophomore Lily Shaffer also reacted to the photos.
“You don’t need to be personally connected to it to understand the disrespect and just have the blatant lack for humanity, it’s just wrong,” Shaffer said.
Saturday afternoon at 12:24 p.m. Vice President for Student Life Jon Dooley sent a statement to the Elon students. He condemned the behavior and said, "The language and drawings are antithetical to our Honor Code and our values as a university community."
Dooley said that he is working with President Book to identify the person who drew on the whiteboard.
"I ask that each of us does our part to address issues of equity and inclusion within our sphere of influence. It will take all of us working together to become the community we strive to be," he said.
ENN requested comments from Mellinger but he did not wish to and referred ENN to University Communications.