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Arizona State University police launch investigation into spray-painted ‘n-word’ on campus

University president said ‘national organizations’ are stirring up hate on campus

Arizona State University’s police department has launched an investigation after a student found the ‘n-word’ spray-painted on a sidewalk.

The student paper The State Press first reported on the graffiti on October 27, but it did not say what the graffiti was or provide any documentation of the incident. The police were investigating “racial slur written in graffiti” the State Press reported.

University officials were alerted to the graffiti on October 23 by a tweet from student RaNiyah Taylor. She found the graffiti near the school’s Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium.

“ASU is still not a safe or inclusive campus for black students,” Taylor said, tagging the university Twitter account and Michael Crow, the school’s president.


The ASU Police Department received a report of racial graffiti targeting the African American community near ASU’s Tempe Campus on Friday,” said Adam Wolfe, police information officer for ASU in an email to The College Fix

“ASUPD is disgusted by this blatant act of racism,” Wolfe said.

As an inclusive institution, we condemn any racist activity or symbolism in all its forms,” Jerry Gonzalez, a university media relations officer, said in an email to The Fix. “If any individuals involved are affiliated with the university, they will be held accountable for their actions.”

The graffiti drew condemnation from ASU President Michael Crow. Crow referenced “national organizations” who intend “to provoke, incite, agitate or inflame on college campuses and elsewhere.” 

Crow did not name any specific organizations nor did the university mention any when asked for information on the investigation by The Fix.

Crow stated:

The present nature of the national public discourse has given rise to a range of insidious activities across the country often times orchestrated by national organizations whose intent is to provoke, incite, agitate or inflame on college campuses and elsewhere. ASU is no exception. We endeavor to remain vigilant and proactive in stamping out behavior that threatens the health and well-being of our community.

To be clear, ASU condemns behaviors and actions that threaten or intimidate any individual or group of individuals on the basis of race, color, religion, age, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, veteran status, or any other particular status. 

Gonzalez told The Fix in a follow-up email that university officials “do not know who is behind this incident since it’s still being investigated.”

“In the past, and like other universities across the U.S., we have removed posters that were snuck into and pasted on campus by unknown individuals advertising national white supremacist organizations,” the spokesperson told The Fix.

The Black African Coalition also referenced the election in its statement.

Aniyah Braveboy, the coalition’s president, directed The Fix via email to the statement and Taylor’s video. Braveboy did not provide any further comment on the matter to The Fix.

“The BAC recognizes that due to the upcoming election that tensions may rise,” the group wrote on Instagram. The student group said “it is very likely that incidents like this will continue to happen around our campuses and the surrounding area.”

“It is important that our students feel comfortable, safe, and wanted at Arizona State University,” BAC said.

MORE: ASU works to ID young man shrieking ‘slash Republican throats’ in video

IMAGE: RaNiyah Taylor/Twitter

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Adam Burnett - Illinois State University