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FGCU Students Rally Against School's Reaction To Racial Slur

Jessica Meszaros
Some of the student protesters at FGCU on Thursday.

UPDATE: Florida Gulf Coast University President Wilson Bradshaw sent an email Oct. 31 responding to student protesters upset about the university's reaction to a racial slur on campus. The full email is at the bottom of this post. 

About a hundred students at Florida Gulf Coast University rallied on campus Thursday against the school's handling of a racial slur. 
Two weeks ago on FGCU’s campus, the words "kill 'n word'" were discovered written on a white board. Those words were next to a drawing of a stick figure hanging from a tree.

Ashakeen Sterling organized the rally. She’s president of the university’s Black Student Alliance. Sterling said the school did not immediately notify students about the incident. She and others just found out about it on social media this week. Sterling said the university should have considered it a hate crime and informed everyone at FGCU about it right away.  

"They didn't think it was an immediate threat at the time because it could be easily erased. To me, that's saying that I could be easily erased at any time, at any moment," said Sterling. "And I just feel like our president did not take that into consideration."

A couple students addressed the university's Board of Governors and Board of Trustees after their meeting ended Thursday afternoon. FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw's reaction to the students was recorded by a WGCU employee who attended the meeting:

"What happened was not ok with FGCU and we are going to address it," said Bradshaw. "We're not sweeping it under the rug. This is something that means a whole lot to me personally and emotionally. We hear you."

The students sent FGCU’s Administration a list of 10 demands that include reopening the investigation, changing the university's definition of a "hate crime" and being more transparent about this case. The students say if their demands are not met by October 31, they will protest again. 

This is the picture circulating the Twittersphere. WGCU News covered up the "n word."

Jessica Meszaros is a reporter and host of Morning Edition at WUSF Public Media, and former reporter and host of All Things Considered for WGCU News.