Indiana college requires bias training after 'black lives don't matter' dorm sign

(INDYSTAR) -- Indiana State University will require residence hall students to take training for "unconscious bias" and cultural differences after a freshman said she discovered "blacks lives don't matter" written on the dry-erase board outside her dorm room door this week.

Communications freshman McKinsey Glover, 19, a Lawrence Central graduate, posted a picture of the sign to her Facebook page Monday, along with photos of two other events she said were fueled by a dispute with others on her floor at Mill Hall on Indiana State's campus.

"I felt harassed from everything that already happened, and like they were out to get me, and I was scared," Glover said. "I didn't know if maybe I come out of my room and they'd be waiting for me.

"I just don't feel safe."

The post, which also included photos of a clump of dark hair taped to the outside of her dorm room door and what appears to be a used sanitary napkin on a shower bench, went viral. It was shared more than 2,500 times and drew more than 800 comments.

"Okaaaay so these white girls on my floor are REAL LIFE racist, & they keep messing with me," the post read, "like I'm so fed up."

Glover said she only posted it after she approached Indiana State Public Safety and her resident assistant, who were slow to take action.

Public Safety officials declined comment to IndyStar.

"What they told me was, 'Well, we'll get back with you, and this is going to be a process,'" she said. "Me being a communication major, I said, 'I know what to do to make this seen.' I didn't want the university to look bad. And I didn't think it would go as viral as it did."

One of those Facebook shares came from Dominic Dorsey, founder and president of social justice advocacy group DONT SLEEP, where it gained more steam on social media.

In response, the university sent an email to all students, faculty and staff Wednesday. The school did not identify the students involved and characterized the incident as "an interpersonal dispute between floormates."

"I would describe this as an isolated incident, that there is not a trend of racially charged incidents on campus," Indiana State University spokeswoman Libby Roerig told IndyStar.

Even so, the university said in the email it would take action to help prevent similar events from occurring again.

"The Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX, in collaboration with the Office of Residential Life, will begin implementing intentional training for all residence halls surrounding unconscious bias, cultural differences, and respect for others," the email said. "Incidents of racism and discrimination on Indiana State’s campus will not be tolerated."

The statement said video footage confirmed the hair taped to the door, but the message written on the dry-erase board was reported to the university in August and is not part of the most recent string of events. The video footage came from a Public Safety officer body cam, Roerig said, but declined to offer more details.

Glover, though, said the university is confusing her with another student on her dorm floor who had the same message written on her board in August. Glover said the version of the message on her dry-erase board appeared Monday.

"There were two different times that was written on someone's door," she said.

Roerig said the incident is still under investigation but there's no confusion over the "black lives don't matter" message. She declined to offer more details.

"I would say we're pretty clear on when things happened," she said.

The bias training will be rolled out systematically by social justice mediators on campus to resident assistants and residents, Roerig said, and will happen "as soon as possible."

Future plans remain unknown for a training, she said, but it could become mandatory annually for residence halls.

This incident doesn't indicate a trend of racial issues within the 13,700-student Indiana State University, she said.

she said. "We are very proud to have a very vibrant communtiy on campus. I think these training efforts will help folks who have to live together live together more comfortably."

Glover said she would do one thing differently: Wait a few more days before jumping on Facebook to post her message.

"I hope that it never happens again," she said. "I'm glad that it happened to me so that it wouldn't happen to someone else."

Call IndyStar reporter Amy Bartner at (317) 444-6752. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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