Multicultural organizations feel safe on campus, following zero hate crimes

	<p>DN <span class="caps">ILLUSTRATION</span> <span class="caps">ASHLEE</span> <span class="caps">HAYES</span></p>

DN ILLUSTRATION ASHLEE HAYES

Leaders of Ball State multicultural organizations said the members of their communities feel safe on campus.

The 2013 Campus Security Report showed that no hate crimes were reported in 2010, 2011 or 2012, but it is only required to report hate crimes that occur on university-controlled property.

Michael Gillilan, director of student rights and community standards, said the report indicates no crimes were committed on basis of bias in categories of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

Romelle Taday, president of the Asian American Student Association, said it is “incredible” there are no hate crimes. She didn’t hear of any hate crimes against Asians, Asian Americans or any international students.

“[Ball State] has been able to maintain a safe environment for minorities and the international students who may be feeling different or unaccepted on campus,” she said.

Dairick Wade, president of the Black Student Association, said if the report has no hate crimes, it may not necessarily mean there are none, but it is encouraging.

“I honestly think it’s a little surprising that it’s zero hate crimes,” he said. “You would think with 20,000 students there would be at least one hate crime.”

As a resident assistant, Wade has received training on situations like hate crimes and sexual harassment so he would understand the importance of reporting crimes, but he said he doesn’t think the student body shares this knowledge.

Beyond hate crimes, students may experience bias, which is when someone is targeted because of a prejudice against them. Bias is not a crime, however. If a student experiences a hate crime or bias incident, they can report it using the bias incident report form on bsu.edu.

Taday said she would encourage any student who came to her with a problem to file a report, but she personally is not aware of the systems Ball State has in place.

Katie Slabaugh, Ball State’s Title IX deputy coordinator who responds to the reports, said she receives few reports and a shortcoming of her position may be the lack of awareness.

“I don’t know if that is more of an awareness on the part of campus,” she said. “It has been better publicized in the past, and I don’t think it resulted in more reports.”

She said she does not regularly reach out to the multicultural organizations on campus to make sure they are aware of reporting procedures.

Jovan Rodriguez, president of the Latino Student Union, said he has never experienced any hate crimes or bias incidents on campus.

“I have felt safe and comfortable to be myself during all of my time here,” he said. “I can say Ball State is very accepting of diversity and offers multiple organizations that strive to promote diversity.”

International students, Taday said, have a more difficult time, but Ball State has structures in place to help.

“Coming to a new country is scary, especially coming for school,” she said. “But with them being involved in organizations like ASA, they are warming up to transition from an international student to just a student on campus.”

Wade said they will talk about bias if someone brings them up at BSA meetings.

As an RA, he has heard of incidents like derogatory words written on community boards, but it isn’t something that comes up frequently.

“We are aware of those biases and things like that happening,” he said. “I think it’s something less prevalent in our society today, but it is something we need to be aware of. People still have biases towards the black community or other minority communities, as well.”

Spectrum declined to be interviewed for the story.

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