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Racist note left under Black student's door at William Jewell campus prompts school-wide conversation

William Jewell College
Posted at 10:28 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 23:35:04-05

William Jewell College staff had to have a tough conversation with students Thursday night after a Black student found a note with a racial slur on it slipped under their door.

Hours later, the college took steps to ease the pain the note caused by holding a student body-wide meeting.

Jacquinta Nelson, a William Jewell alum who remains a campus leader, felt a mix of emotions Thursday night, including a sense of duty.

"At first painful, shock, shame, but towards the end I felt inspiration," she said. "To make sure that I was a voice of the past for them to remember how we handled the situation before and what we need to do now."

Many others shared stories of their experience with racism.

William Jewell College President Dr. Elizabeth McCloud Walls says the conversation around racial incidents isn't supposed to feel comfortable, it's meant to make the school community feel heard.

"The rawness and the honest with which they shared their story and experiences tonight is really powerful," she said. "For over two hours now we've been listening. We've been listening to the pain, we've been listening to the sense of hope, we've been listening to the sense of solidarity, and we've learned a lot."

An investigation is the next step. Nelson's goal isn't just retribution, it's education.

"This is not an opportunity to call out the person who did it and make them be removed from our campus," Nelson said. "This is a time to education them. We are an institution of education so why not take the opportunity to help them understand what they did was wrong."