Graffiti on Auburn apartment sparks conversation on intolerance

Local News

AUBURN, Ala. — This past Wednesday, Auburn Police responded to a criminal mischief call at an apartment complex in the 400 block of N. Donahue Drive.

According to police, an unknown person spray painted “Arab” with a set of eyes on the side of one of the apartment buildings. Police say property management was notified immediately and removed the phrase from the building. Police added that there was no threatening language on it, and all interpretations are speculative at this point in time.

Auburn’s Chapter of Southern Poverty Law Center On Campus heard about the incident, and posted on their Facebook page about it.

President of the group, Beth McDaniel says her first reaction was sadness that there is this much hate and misunderstanding in society. She says it was less about the act itself, but more about what it represents and the human costs associated with such acts. McDaniel says the person targeted is human just like the person who committed the act.

“It’s horrifying,” McDaniel says. “Unfortunately, I don’t think the sentiment underlying the message is anything new. I think a lot of people have these feelings, but now folks have become more comfortable expressing them, and it speaks to the work that we still have to do.”

Some of the folks who posted about it on Facebook called it an “awful act of hate and intolerance.”

McDaniel says she hopes there can be a positive takeaway from this incident. She hopes it mobilizes folks to make sure all students are welcomed on campus and in the community and at the same time, initiate dialogue and understanding about our differences and individuals from different backgrounds so there can be relationship building and understanding going forward.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about people,” McDaniel says. “People are at the heart of our social problems, and people are going to be what it takes to solve them. I hope that we can see the people and the humanity in these issues and build a stronger campus and stronger community in the future.”

McDaniel says the group will meet with the student and learn how they can address this going forward.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Auburn Police Division at 334-501-3140.

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