Note: The following message was emailed by SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin on Feb. 4 to everyone at the college.
Dear SLCC Community:
With a heavy and disappointed heart, I must share that today during our Black Student Union’s Poetry Slam, unknown online hackers entered the virtual space and displayed anti-Black racist messages and inappropriate images of children.
What was meant to be a liberating space for freedom of speech, creative expression and celebration was affronted inexcusably by online hackers. As our country has mourned and protested this year over other social injustices, inequities and harm experienced by our African American and Black community members, this incident reminds us that even very close to home there are people who are intentionally seeking to foster anti-Black messages of hate and new forums where they can find opportunities.
My thanks go out to Ms. Glory Johnson-Stanton and other Student Affairs and Health and Counseling staff who acted quickly and compassionately to support the Black Student Union leaders and students in attendance. Please know that continued support and assistance can be found through the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, the Dean of Students Office or through the SLCC Center for Health and Counseling.
Our Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs staff, advisors and the members of the Black Student Union have planned important and meaningful events to celebrate Black history. My hope is that all of you will stand in support of their work by attending their events, engaging with them in community and conversation and finding ways to make your own spaces more inclusive.
There is no space for hateful and racist speech on our campuses. SLCC Public Safety, Utah Highway Patrol, and SLCC’s Office of Information Technology are actively investigating this incident and we will take action against those who were involved. We have strong mechanisms for reporting and responding to hate and bias speech, including the Hate & Bias Incident Report Form and we continue to strengthen our mitigation mechanisms to ensure all our campuses, learning and working spaces, including (now more than ever) online spaces, are free from racism, hate, intimidation and interference with learning.
Deneece G. Huftalin, PhD
Salt Lake Community College