Content Warning: This article contains information regarding a disturbing bias incident that occurred in a residence hall on campus.
The investigation into a bias incident in Maple Hall on Feb. 28 resulted in charges for violating the student code of conduct and the suspension of one of the two students involved.
Roger Williams University President Ioannis Miaoulis and Vice President of Student Life John King sent an email to all students on March 18 detailing the charges and results.
These charges come after the university received reports of two students in blackface in the Maple 8 residence hall. The students stood before a panel hearing where one student was found not responsible for two student conduct charges. The second student was found responsible for two of three student conduct charges and has been suspended from RWU for his involvement.
“Regardless of the intent or origin of how or why a student ended up wearing blackface, we want to be categorically clear – wearing blackface in private or public settings is never appropriate, cannot be rationalized, and will result in significant sanctions, including suspension or dismissal from the University,” Miaoulis wrote in the email.
The email also provided resources for the RWU community to learn more about the history of blackface, the importance of inclusion and the prevention of racism on campus. There are events in the coming weeks to discuss racism and how to become a better ally. On March 25, there is an Inclusion through Allyship Program at 2 p.m. There is also a Hawk Allyship Seminar and Student Understanding Whiteness Community Conversations — students can contact Director of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Zoila Quezada at [email protected] for more details about those events.
The Intercultural Center will also be hosting events to provide support for community members including a Community and Dialogue conversation with Quezada and Graduate Assistant David Hayes on March 22 at 4 p.m. There will be a Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Student, Staff and Faculty Meeting on March 29 at 5 p.m.
“We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and to have a willingness to learn so that we can be better allies for our fellow Hawks,” Miaoulis wrote.
Director of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Dr. Zoila Quezada | Contact [email protected] for support and additional resources
Counseling Center: (401) 254-3124
Student Life: [email protected]