Emerson College is investigating racist graffiti found in dorm

"I am deeply troubled that this vandalism follows so closely on the heels of anti-Semitic symbols found in another residence hall."

Emerson College President M. Lee Pelton. Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe, File

Derogatory words toward Asian and Asian-American students appeared on multiple doors in an Emerson campus dorm hall, just days after swastikas were found scrawled across campus stairwells, according to an email the college’s president, Lee Pelton, sent to the campus community on Sunday.

Staff found the graffiti on Friday in the Little Building, a new 12-story dorm on Boylston Street. The occupants of each vandalized room, the email reads, are of varied cultural backgrounds, but this is the second report of offensive language toward Asian students in the Little Building.

“These racist words, unworthy of repeating, cause harm to Asians and Asian-Americans and the broader Emerson community, and I am deeply troubled that this vandalism follows so closely on the heels of anti-Semitic symbols found in another residence hall,” Pelton wrote. “Such violation of student space, with apparent disregard for how this language can cause harm, is unacceptable.”


Emerson’s Office of Housing & Residence Education has offered support to those students directly affected by the incident and encouraged others to reach out to other campus resources, Pelton said.

Students used social media to speak out about the anti-Semitic graffiti, stating that it isn’t the first hateful message to taint Emerson’s halls.

“We stand in solidarity with all students made to feel unsafe and unwelcome by the presence of fascist graffiti on campus,” the Emerson College student union Instagram account posted. “Let’s all do our part to make this campus hostile to fascists and welcoming to the people they threaten.”

In further response to the vandalism, Pelton said staff would be meeting early this week to discuss additional programming since hateful vandalism is a “significant violation of our Code of Community Standards.”

One student posted on Twitter, urging more response from the college: “this is the second incidence of racist graffiti in less than a week. what is emerson doing to protect its vulnerable students? what concrete action is emerson college going to do to prevent this from happening again? because clearly there’s a hateful contingent here.”

Pelton said other campus officials would continue working with campus groups and members of the Jewish and Asian communities to determine how to respond and condemn both incidents.


“Such cowardly acts will not change who we are,” Pelton said. “Emerson will remain a welcoming place for all, not only in theory but in practice, and we will rise above these incidents, which seek to instill fear, disrupt our community, and challenge our values.”

Both reported incidents are currently under investigation and the offender(s) remains unknown. 

Ainslie Cromar is an Emerson College student.


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