DVC left students in dark about racist graffiti


Racist graffiti was found at Diablo Valley College on the Pleasant Hill campus on March 6. (Gavin Rock/The Inquirer).

Editorial Board

There are 22,000 students attending Diablo Valley College, almost all of whom were not alerted about racial threats directed towards African American engineers until over 48 hours after the incident — The Inquirer has been actively involved in notifying the student body on the situation while administration remained silent for days.

On March 6 at the Pleasant Hill campus, racist graffiti saying “No n**gers working for trades” alongside an image of a stick figure being lynched was discovered at 3:30 p.m. inside two male bathrooms. Yet the student body was unnotified until Friday afternoon, and faculty was not told of the incident until after 9 p.m. on the day of occurrence. The Inquirer released two images containing cover up of the graffiti on March 8, despite President Susan Lamb telling faculty that the graffiti was removed. DVC only crossed the language out with an X, yet the message is still visible and the imagery of lynching is also still legible.

The most concerning question is left unanswered: why weren’t students thought of earlier? Does the administration believe that students should be left in the dark when these incidents occur?

While it is appreciated that Lamb “personally condemns such vile and hateful language,” as written in her late night email, there has been no clear solution released by the administration for how these situations will be handled or prevented in the future. Despite the fact Lamb stated counseling will “provide services to any student who has been impacted,” much of the student body was unaware the incident even occurred. How is it possible for students to be offended when the administration left them unaware of the situation? After The Inquirer conducted several student interviews on Thursday, only one student was aware of the vandalism.

Transparency is key in the relationships between the student body and administration; without a doubt, students should have been told about the graffiti sooner. The absence of communication on the administration’s part prevents any form of dialogue about issues on campus. Without an opportunity for dialogue, students are taught to distrust the powers above them, and that their voices don’t matter.

At The Inquirer, we acknowledge that student voices should be given the highest priority at DVC. We firmly believe the student body has a right to know what happens on campus, and it is the administration’s duty to inform them in a timely manner. Without The Inquirer’s reporting, we question when administration would have alerted students; if at all. According to the LATimes, hate crimes in California are on the rise. California also holds the largest number of documented hate groups, with over 80 organizations. In a society today where hate continues to spread, it is unacceptable to not acknowledge that racism has been and continues to be a problem at DVC.

Faculty was also neglected by receiving Lamb’s email after 9 p.m. on a Friday night, despite knowledge of the graffiti being circulated since 3:30 p.m. Many teachers don’t check email after 9pm or over the weekend – how many learned of this incident for the first time on Monday morning? Was faculty even prepared to discuss this issue?

According to an interview conducted by The Inquirer, Lamb did not notify students right away because she and administration were held up in meetings and other arrangements. Are the students not important enough to be made aware of the situation in the midst of a busy day? We believe the student body deserves better.

Two months ago, there was another incident of threatening vandalism on campus in which students were notified at 9 p.m., and this was after an image of the graffiti spread on social media. By the time a text was sent to all students and faculty through the EMERAlert system, the word was already out because of a DVC student who took the issue to Twitter. DVC not only has an issue with threatening vandalism, but with how to respond to it as well. As a campus community, we cannot let these issues be ignored or dealt with later; this is something we need to deal with now.