A racist message written on a dry-erase board hanging on a black student’s dorm room door at Grand Valley State University has now been declared a hoax, according to findings from a campus police investigation.
The incident was first reported to campus police on February 17, and an image of the blackboard spread like wildfire on social media. The illustration showed a person being hanged along with racial slurs and inappropriate words.
“It’s really stupid and immature,” said GVSU student Briayanna Walker at the time of the incident. “I thought we were all past that.”
Dean of Students Bart Merkle said when the incident first was reported that the students who lived in the dorm were being offered counseling to help deal with the seriousness of the issue. It wasn’t confirmed whether just one or both of the students in the dorm were black.
“They’re scared and nervous and pretty outraged that somebody would treat them that way,” said Merkle.
Now, after a lengthy and thorough investigation by campus police, it has been determined that the entire thing was a hoax from the start.
“The Grand Valley State University Police Department has concluded a thorough investigation of the Racial Bias incident reported on February 17, 2014,” said campus police in a statement this week. “The person believed to be responsible for the drawing and language written on the dry erase board is a Grand Valley student and the owner of the message board. The incident has had a disruptive impact on the community and as a result, the student has been referred to the Dean of Students for a student code violation. University policy does not permit the release of his/her name.”
Reports have not said if the student will face any serious consequences for the hoax, but after the amount of negative attention this story originally brought to the school, something will likely be done.