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Report Incidents; Stop Acts of Hate Before They Occur

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Dear UNH community members:

This will update you on reports received during the past fall semester, 2011 concerning incidents of hate or bias in the local UNH community.  Such reports include those submitted to the online “Reportit!” form at www.reportit.unh.edu , reports of incidents submitted to staff members and forwarded to us, and those received by Housing, Residential Life and MUB staffs.  For greater detail and archival data, please check out the Blackboard “My Resources” page and scroll to “UNH Bias Response Protocol”.  This latest reporting period began on Aug. 29 and ended on Dec. 20, 2011.

This semester we saw a couple of trends that emerged.  First, there were a series of graffiti markings found around campus but primarily in residential areas that contained offensive or biased words.  The markings were reported, photographed, and then erased or washed.  In many instances, the local community was notified that something had been discovered. While no perpetrators were caught, their vandalism was quickly erased and their targeted victims had a place to report what happened.  In each case, the persons who reported the incidents were contacted and offered university support and safety services.

Secondly, there were five incidents where someone anonymously yelled out a sexist or homophobic slur that others heard and reported.  In these instances as well, the person reporting was contacted and offered support and safety resources. 

After Thanksgiving break, two very disturbing reports came to our attention.  The first incident prompted a Clery Timely Warning from the UNH Police Department on Dec. 2 via Roam Secure.  A student was reported to have been assaulted in C Lot in early November. The victim is black and he indicated the perpetrators are white, although he was not able to identify anyone, as he was attacked from behind.

The victim’s identity is still not known to police or university staff. It was several days after the incident before staff first heard about it from a second-hand source, and it took several more days for staff to find and speak with this source. Just as soon as enough details were known however, the warning went out. The second incident came to the attention of the UNH Police Department during Thanksgiving break after a citizen brought in a vandalized sign-in sheet from the Mill Road entrance to College Woods. Someone wrote a racist and hateful statement via use of the “n” word, with an image of violence against African Americans by drawing an individual in a noose.  Given the public nature of the sign-in sheets, there is no way to determine who did this.  The only UNH connection is that it is property owned by the institution.

We believe that it is important for everyone to be informed about reports of incidents in our community, as the better informed we are, the more prepared we can be to stand up and speak out against acts of bias and hate. UNH prizes the active inclusion of all people in the life of our community. We are stronger for our diversity. Please join us as we re-dedicate ourselves to stopping acts of hate before they occur, and exercising our first amendment rights to challenge those who seek to diminish the worth and dignity of others. Speak up when it is safe for you to do so. Report any act of hate or bias so that the community will stay informed. Check out the many helping resources and programs on campus. 

Sincerely,

Donna Marie Sorrentino, Director, Office of Affirmative Action and Equity
Anne Lawing, Dean of Students