‘Despicable’ graffiti inspires social media response
CSULB administration responds promptly by condemning the action.
January 29, 2017
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Amid the political environment of the United States tension has risen in different places, including at the Cal State Long Beach campus.
On Jan. 25, a student found controversial graffiti on one of the walls of the first floor men’s bathroom in the Liberal Arts 5 building.
The graffiti read “Wetbacks Lives Don’t Matter,” and was shared on social media by Norberto Lopez, a senior Chicano and Latino Studies and sociology major.
With over 100 likes and 43 shares on Facebook, the post appeared in different organizations’ social media, such as Undocumedia, a non-profit that advocates for immigrant rights.
The photo was shared with a statement written by Lopez in which he expresses that while the racist message might be irrelevant for some, for him “it reassures that my life and the life of fellow undocumented folks are in danger because people believe undocumented lives don’t matter.”
Administration responded to the situation by tweeting a picture that shows that the graffiti was erased. The caption for the picture posted on the university’s social media says, “Hate, you’re not welcome here.”
CSULB provost Brian Jersky said that although this unfortunate event happened, it does not reflect the vision of the school as a whole.
“The administration has expressed this really quite strongly” Jersky said. “We react as quickly as we can to any incident like this one, with the graffiti in the bathroom, which obviously reflects at least one person’s point of view, but we make sure it doesn’t stay there or reflect many people’s point of view.”
This incident is not the first one of its kind to happen on campus. Last spring, a student brandished a knife in a sociology class in what many perceived to be a racially-motivated action.
According to the Daily 49er, last March, a 20-year-old male student displayed a short knife to a female student in a sociology class on race, class and gender.
Some students believe that the incident was racially motivated, saying on social media that a white male student threatened a black female student with the knife.
Some students believe that to make CSULB a safe place for undocumented students, it must become a “sanctuary campus.”
The term sanctuary campus refers to a college or university that adopts policies, such as not allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers onto campus, to protect its undocumented students.
“I highly doubt CSULB or the CSU in general will become or adopt the term sanctuary due to their fear of losing federal funds,” Lopez said, “but we will continue organizing and putting pressure to create a safer environment for our fellow students.”
In response to the political tension on campus, faculty has decided to host a series of teach-ins called “Reclaiming Democracy” in hopes to provide a free-speech space for students.
The teach-ins will begin Tuesday and will continue up to April in the Speaker’s Platform in front of the bookstore.
In addition, Jersky said administration plans to continue to work with other organizations on campus to listen to student voices.
“It’s both cowardly and despicable and we condemn the sentiment as strongly as we can,” said Jersky in regard to the graffiti. “And we hope that most students will join us in condemning it and realizing that in a community, there’s possibly always going to be some friction by minority, small groups of students who feel disaffected, but I’ll say most students do not share those views.”
*Valerie Osier contributed to this story