University issues statement on racial incident

Tom Meyer

Northwestern President Morton Schapiro and Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin issued a joint statement Monday night condemning an incident earlier in the month in which a Latina student says she was harassed because of her race.

The joint statement was sent in an email to all students and disavowed the actions of unknown students who shouted racially charged phrases at Weinberg senior Tonantzin Carmona. Hundreds of students attended a student-organized caucus on racial prejudice Thursday night and a follow-up meeting Sunday night in response to Carmona’s experience.

“We find this incident reprehensible,” the statement said. “It does not represent the values of Northwestern. This behavior has no place at our University.”

Carmona said she was walking home before midnight Jan. 12 when a group of girls began shouting at her. When she did not respond, they yelled, “No hablas ingles?” or, “You don’t speak English?”

Carmona said the emailed statement is a good first step toward addressing racism on campus.

“I was glad that it demonstrates that the University sees this as an important issue,” Carmona said. “What I’m interested in now is how they’ll create a Northwestern that fosters diversity and respect.”

Schapiro and Telles-Irvin’s statement indicated that they plan to continue the dialogue that has developed in recent days.

“We will meet in February with students to discuss ways we can continue our efforts to make Northwestern a more inclusive and welcoming community,” the statement said. “With your assistance, we will continue to make progress.”

Carmona said she will be interested to see which students are involved in the future discussions to which the statement alluded and believes many students share the administration’s sentiments.

“I definitely see the letter as a positive,” she said.

– Tom Meyer