BART, SGA respond to bias incident

Newswire photo by Sydney Sanders | On Saturday night, it was reported that a Nazi flag with a swastika was hung in a window in Husman Hall. The Bias Advisory and Response Team is currently investigating the incident and has yet to identify the perpetrator.

While the Xavier community continues to celebrate progress in diversity and inclusion, situations such as the bias incident that occurred Saturday night serve as reminders of the changes that still need to happen. That night, it was reported to Xavier’s Bias Advisory and Response Team (BART) that a Nazi flag with a swastika symbol was hung in a window in Husman Hall. The incident was initially reported to the Husman Hall director, who then reported it to BART.

According to the BART team, the perpetrator of this incident has not yet been discovered. The team plans to collaborate with the director of Husman Hall throughout the investigation.

On Tuesday, the Student Government Association (SGA) released a statement responding to the incident.

“We denounce in the strongest possible terms acts of hatred, violence and white supremacy such as this and seek to make clear that they are unwelcome on the campus of Xavier University or in the Xavier community at large,” the statement read. “As Xavier Musketeers, we act with integrity, justice and generosity and stand in solidarity with marginalized groups both here and within the global community. This vile act of supremacy goes against what we as a community stand for, and it is incumbent upon us students to speak up in the face of hatred here and anywhere.”

BART co-Chairs Dr. Taj Smith and Dr. Kristine Suna-Koro emphasized Xavier’s stance on diversity and inclusion in their response to the incident.

“Xavier University, as a Catholic Jesuit institution, stands for solidarity and respect for all religious traditions, races, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds and so forth,” Suna-Koro said. “Under no circumstances is it even imaginable that we as a community would endorse the blatant and provocative display of symbols such as (the) swastika that very clearly signify nothing less than hate, genocide, racism, anti-semitism and religious intolerance and that are, sadly, seeing a resurgence in the present political climate where even historical horrors such as the Holocaust seem to be forgotten or lost in ignorance.”

Suna-Koro also talked about the ways in which faculty can respond to the incident to help students learn from it.

“As a faculty member, I know that many among us are using our academic expertise in various fields to help our students better grasp what symbols like (the) swastika stand for in light of the unspeakable horrors of history and how the resurgence of such symbols glorifies the culture of death — violence, racial prejudice (and) abuse of those who are pushed to the margins of society and demonized,” Suna-Koro said.

Smith discussed how students can respond to the incident. He emphasized the importance of incorporating diversity and inclusion in education but added that institutional change in government, high schools and communities as a whole is also necessary.

“An actionable step for Xavier students can be to go back to their high schools and demand that more education, difficult conversations and accountability for implicit bias or overt prejudice be a part of the curriculum so that future Xavier students bring less bias to campus,” Smith said. “We need more students to step outside their comfort zones to learn about someone who is different.”

While the investigation continues, it should be noted that any disciplinary action taken toward the perpetrator will come from the university itself and not BART. Because the individual has not been yet identified, no action has been taken.

However, SGA will be holding an open conversation about the incident at 3 p.m. on March 12 in the Arrupe Overlook during which students can discuss their ideas regarding the social climate of the university moving forward.

By: Hannah Sgambellone ~Staff Writer~