Bellevue College students criticize campus response to hate speech
BELLEVUE, Wash. -- Bellevue College administrators apologized Sunday for not informing students in a timely manner of a series of hate speech incidents on campus that have happened since January.
Earlier notifications were sent by the President through email, but according to the school, accidentally left out the students. The entire community was later informed, but the situation has angered many students.
A group called 'BC Students United' recently formed, demanding answers and accountability from college administrators on a perceived lack of communication, transparency and reception to the seriousness of the speech.
"The lives of every single Muslim and LGBTQ student on this campus were threatened," said student Joshua Shepherd, "They weren't informed."
Initial notifications went to campus staff earlier in the year. Sunday, Vice President of Institutional Achievement Gayle Bridge could not be clear on when students were first told, though some on campus indicated it had been months after the first reported hate speech was found.
Another letter was sent to students and staff on Friday.
"We feel like we could've done a better job," said Bridge, "We've apologized. We were under the impression the students were emailed too (initially). They were not."
Bridge said there have been up to five incidents on campus since January of anti-Muslim or anti-LGBTQ graffiti or writing left on campus. She said administration takes the situation seriously.
However, 'BC Students United' members dispute that, and believe the college's lack of communication is a safety issue.
"I need to know if there's a target on my back," said student Eric Warwick with 'BC Students United', "This is a systemic problem that has been going on for years."
'BC Students United' issued a list of demands to the college to address the situation. Another meeting between both sides is planned for Tuesday.