Vigil at Elizabethtown College for victims of recent hateful speech

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Following a series of hateful comments left on students’ message boards and elsewhere, about 100 people in the Elizabethtown College community came together Friday night for a candlelight vigil to call for an end to what’s been happening.

College administrators say for several weeks, some students have found racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and other hateful speech written on memo boards and dry-erase boards on their dormitory doors. Someone also etched a hateful comment into a bathroom stall.

“E-town’s not about that. It’s about peace, love and service. And, I wanted the victims of these crimes to know they’re not alone,” said Stacey Catigano, who organized the vigil.

A college spokeswoman said administrators have taken several steps in the last few weeks. One person not affiliated with the college was barred from campus. Some students have been disciplined. Citing privacy reasons, the spokeswoman did not say how many or what that discipline entailed. She said it could range from apologizing to the victim up to expulsion.

The college also has reached out to the FBI “regarding classification of the incidents.”

In the weeks ahead, there are several events on campus to give people at the college a chance to discuss what happened and to come together. Earlier this week there was a forum about the recent incidents.

On Friday, April 19, the community will hold a 19-hour vigil beginning at 6 a.m. as a sign of solidarity for the 19 people who’ve been identified as victims of the hateful comments.

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