UC Police: Ethnic intimidation not a joke

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - It's an institution that prides itself on its diversity.  But Campus police at the University of Cincinnati say two students in the last week have found writing or pictures posted near their rooms in Calhoun Residence Hall making fun of racial stereotypes, and they say the incidents are criminal.

"The University of Cincinnati as a community of 50,000 people is in many ways more diverse than the United States as a whole," said Greg Hand,  UC Director of Public Relations. "So it's essential within this environment people learn to get along together.  Any hint that somebody is targeting another person because of their skin color, because of their ethnic or racial background…that's disturbing not just to a single person but to the entire community."

The students who were targeted don't know each other. One is male and one is female. That's leading people to believe the incidents are not related and that has raised a red flag with school administrators as well as police.

Freshman architectural engineering student Marc Vitantonio also lives in Calhoun Hall.

"Seeing something like that and not being open to other groups of people is disappointing," he said.

The first incident occurred sometime between noon on Saturday, Feb. 18 and 8 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. A Calhoun Hall resident reported finding a racial epithet written on the dry-erase board on her door.

The second incident occurred Sunday afternoon, Feb. 19. Police say a group of male white subjects were observed giggling outside the victim's room door in Calhoun Hall.  When the victim went to the door, the suspects ran.  The victim discovered racially and sexually abusive language and pictures on the door.

The victim described one of the subjects as skinny wearing a dark gray fleece shirt.  Anyone with information on either incident should call UC Police at 513-556-1111, or Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.

"There are some people who are rather making light of the situation but if the tables were turned and it was you who were being targeted and you were being made to feel unwelcome on this campus you would see just how serious this is," said Hand. "This is a case where you have to walk in the other person's shoes. It is not a joke. It is not funny. It is serious and if we catch you you will be prosecuted."

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