Release Date: November 13, 2015
BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo Police are investigating what appears to be an incidence of graffiti containing intolerant language in three locations within an academic building on UB’s North Campus.
The graffiti was discovered Wednesday, Nov. 11, in Slee Hall by a university staff person. UB Police were called to the scene at about 8 p.m. A university facilities crew removed all of the graffiti by 11 p.m. Anyone with information about the crime should call University Police at 716-645-2227.
In response to the incident, UB President Satish K. Tripathi published an open letter in the UB Reporter, the university’s newspaper of record, affirming the university’s commitment to “fostering a welcoming, safe and inclusive campus climate where all feel respected and valued.”
“I believe as a university community, we have committed ourselves to this effort, and with that, we should acknowledge the strides we have made,” he wrote. “At the same time, we can’t turn a blind eye to where we fall short in this effort. Last night, I was informed of the presence of graffiti that used intolerant language in one of our academic buildings. This is very disappointing and disrespectful of our values as a university community.”
“As always, I encourage us all, as members of the UB community, to reaffirm our shared commitment to diversity, inclusion, and mutual respect as essential core values at the foundation of our academic community—and to live those values each day.”
Over the past two months, at Tripathi’s request, the university community has been engaged in discussions about inclusiveness, diversity and freedom of expression in response to a controversial “Black Only” “White Only” art project created by a black graduate student. The art project suddenly and briefly appeared on campus on Sept 16.
Tripathi’s letter provided an update on some of the many ways UB students, faculty and staff are moving the conversation forward in the days and weeks after the controversial art project.
For example, Tripathi continues to meet with student leaders from UB’s Black Student Union and People of Color Council to discuss their concerns about the art project. An academic committee currently is reviewing the art project incident to assess whether new policies are needed for displays of art in public spaces on campus.
“Together, we are making progress. But we have much more yet to do to ensure we provide the most inclusive, welcoming and intellectually open environment possible,” Tripathi wrote.