Withrow High School vandalized with slurs

By: Ellen Siefke ~Head Copy Editor~

Photo courtesy of cincinnati.com | Withrow High School was vandalized with hate messages of racial and homophobic slurs, such as the word “Trump” spray-painted with a swastika pictured above.

A protest was held at Withrow High School on Monday in response to vandalism that occurred over the weekend.

According to WLWT5, various slurs, swastikas and the word “Trump” were spraypainted across the campus, and buildings, sidewalks and signs alike were all targeted.

The community gathered together to remove the graffiti on Sunday.

Classes resumed on Monday as normal.

Junior public relations major Kaelan Doolan attended the protests along with a friend from UC. He initially learned of the incident on Twitter. After an email from the Black Student Association (BSA) regarding both the vandalism and the protest, he decided to go.

Doolan explained that he took a particular interest in the event both because of the location (the high school is fewer than two miles from Xavier’s campus) and of the nature of the incident.

“It happened at a high school, which is out of our range,” Doolan said in reference to his part as a college student at the protests. “It’s also difficult that it was politically and racially charged statements because Xavier is already partisan… so it widens that gap.”

Another reason Doolan wanted to attend was that the perpetrator has yet to be identified.

Police released surveillance video of the suspect. However, since the suspect also sprayed the surveillance cameras, police have yet to determine the utility of the footage.

“Here, when the blackface incident occurred, we knew who did it. We had a literal face,” Doolan said. “We knew what to do. It’s difficult not to have a face, so the most you can do is say upfront that you are against it.”

Doolan and his friend arrived at the protests around 3:45 p.m. on Monday. He said that the protestors lined the sidewalk up to the main entrance of the school and stood about 30 feet across. They held up signs with statements like “No hate tolerated” and repeated chants like “1, 2, 3, 4, racism no more.”

What particularly struck Doolan about the protests was the overall atmosphere.

For one, the protesters were mostly White, while he and his friend, along with five or six others, constituted the only Black attendees. Even moreso, he says the protest had a “jovial” feel to it.

“There wasn’t any real kind of forceful environment,” Doolan said. “It wasn’t confrontational, only happy.”

Doolan and his friend stayed at the protest until 4:15 p.m. and thought his presence as a college student from Xavier made a positive impact.

“I wore my Alpha Phi Alpha shirt, so it was good to have someone from Black extracurriculars. It was good to have a representative from Xavier because we don’t have the clout of places like UC,” Doolan said. “It was good to represent an underrepresented group. It was cool, especially since the majority of the protesters were younger or adults.”

Overall, Doolan says the experience was very rewarding for him.

“Other protests were about retaliation and uncomfortability, and it gets straining after a while,” Doolan said. “To finally go to one like this, with a primarily White crowd, was good to have that ally ship and to see the approval. Normally, people question the implications of incidents like the use of blackface…so to have something plainly hateful seen as not OK was nice. It was nice that it was a community thing and that the community stepped in and played a part.”

Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby is offering a reward to anyone with information about the suspect.

“I belong to this city,” Ruby said in a tweet. “I feel that if someone is in a position to help the community or help people that need it, they should give back to the community that gave it to them in the first place.”