News

Car near K-State painted with ‘Go Home Nigger Boy’ and students are fed up

A car in an apartment complex near K-State was vandalized Wednesday.
A car in an apartment complex near K-State was vandalized Wednesday. Submitted photo

Correction: This story has been updated to include a university spokesman saying that Kansas State does not have anyone enrolled at the university by the name that police say is the owner of the car.

After a vandal tagged a car Wednesday with racial slurs, African American students at Kansas State University say they are fed up with racist acts at the school.

Riley County Police are investigating the vandalism in an apartment parking lot about a half mile from the Manhattan campus.

“Go Home Nigger Boy” was painted in yellow across the rear windshield. Other expletives were painted on the side of the car.

Police identified the man whose car had been vandalized and he returned a call to The Star Wednesday evening saying he was a student at the university.

But Wednesday night, university spokesman Jeff Morris told the Associated Press that the university does not have anyone enrolled at the university by the name that police say is the owner of the car.

“We do not have a person enrolled currently or in the past by that name,” Morris said. He said the university would continue to try to clear up the confusion on Thursday.

The man who called The Star said the vandalism and the resulting social media explosion has made it “impossible for me to go anywhere. I can’t drive my car anywhere without people stopping me.” The Star is not naming him for safety reasons.

He said he does not want the attention and has withdrawn from the university and intends to return to his home in California.

“I was not raised to discriminate,” he said. He called the vandalism "sad, hurtful and disappointing.”

Police are looking at whether the vandalism should be investigated as a hate crime, said Hali Rowland, public information officer for Riley County Police.

“At this point students of color are becoming very frustrated,” said Andrew Hammond, a junior from Wichita studying mass communication at K-State.

Hammond said the vandalism was just the latest racist incident to occur on K-State’s campus this year.

In May, a noose was discovered hanging from a tree in the center of the K-State campus. At that time University President Richard Meyers issued a statement condemning the act. He called it “intolerable.”

University spokesman Jeff Morris said the university would not directly address the issue as a campus community concern until they had more information from police about the incident and the victim.

Hammond said there have been other incidents of concern to black students that have not gotten the president’s attention and that was “the major sticking point” for students of color.

He pointed out that K-State does not have a multicultural center on its campus.

Hammond said he believes having such a facility would help educate the campus community through programs and make students of color feel more included.

He said students have met with K-State administrative leaders about the incidents and about getting a multicultural center, “but President Myers isn’t doing anything.”

In a statement posted on K-State website Wednesday before the vandalism was discovered, Myers talked about steps the university was taking.

“Last spring we announced a new leadership structure to strengthen diversity and inclusion at K-State,” Myers said. “We are nearing completion of those searches and preparing to move quickly once the positions are filled.”

By Wednesday afternoon members of the Black Student Union were “getting together to figure out the next step,” said Hammond, who is active with the student group. Tentative plans were being made to convene an event Thursday evening related to the vandalism.

Comments about the vandalism blew up on social media Wednesday afternoon.

One person repeated one phrase that was sprayed on the car: “Date your own kind.”

In response, the person tweeted: “ For those who still think racism ended with Rosa Parks.”

Another person called for K-State administration to respond.

A brief statement from K-State administration asks anyone with information to contact the Riley County Police Department at 785-537-2112 or Crime Stoppers at 785-539-7777.

The Office of Student Life can offer support to concerned students and family members and can be reached at 785-532-6432 or stulife@k-state.edu.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

Related stories from Kansas City Star

  Comments