A rash of bigotry and vandalism incidents struck campus in the spring semester.
The words ?Phase phags? were painted in the tunnel that runs under the Academic Quad in early February, beginning a string of vandalism in that tunnel.
Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity had been the last group to paint the tunnel before the phrase appeared.
Members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Friends Alliance repainted the tunnel to promote awareness.
?Our goal was to send a message loud and clear to the campus community that hate graffiti and other forms of bigotry will not be tolerated by the GLBFA,? said sophomore Dan Lioy, GLBFA education chair.
DKE issued a written statement that neither denied nor admitted painting the phrase.
?Delta Kappa Epsilon as a fraternity does not discriminate in any fashion, nor does it condone discrimination by any one of its members,? according to the statement, signed by DKE President Robert Crummet.
Then in late February, someone recorded racial slurs onto the answering machine in the office of the Black Students? Union located in Wilson Commons.
In late March, tunnel paintings by the Sigma Delta Tau sorority were vandalized with sexual references and negative comments.
In early April, someone painted a wide range of racial, ethnic and sexual slurs over Phi Sigma Sigma sorority?s tunnel paintings. The vandalism did appear to target the particular sorority.
?The fact that someone would use their time and energy for this type of vandalism creates a negative image of how our student body treats special interest groups,? sophomore and SDT President Sue Mao said.
In addition, a number of racial slurs have been found in the bathrooms of Rush Rhees Library over the last semester.
Intercessor Kathy Sweetland has created a policy for dealing with such incidents of bigotry or harassment. Anyone who discovers a bigoted action should report it to UR Security, take a picture of it, get rid of it so other community members will not be exposed and then try to find an appropriate community response.
If the perpetrator were known, he or she would go before a judicial committee. Because UR is a private university, it can limit speech on its property without violating constitutional freedoms.
Student groups have carried on the tradition of painting the tunnels for many years. General Secrety and Vice President Paul Burgett said he does not want to punish the community for the actions of a few by putting restrictions on that tradition.
Coed housing options increase
The Office of Residential Life has lifted the ban on coed occupants for suites that contain double rooms. The people assigned to the double room must still be the same sex.
Sometimes in the past, students have been shut out when all the suites with six singles had already been chosen, said Laurel Contomanolis, associate director of Residential Life.
Burton and Crosby Halls will become coed, except for the third floors. The dorms had been all-female and all-male, respectively, for more than 10 years.
?There are very few students who actually want single-gender housing, but there?s enough that we need to provide an alternative,? Contomanolis said.
The two third-floor halls combined can house 40 to 50 people.
Many of last year?s Burton and Crosby residents feel this is a positive move. A large number said they were randomly placed in their dorm or picked it as their last choice.
?I had a choice between GLC and Crosby and I chose Crosby because of location,? said sophomore Pete Avitable, who would rather have lived in a coed dorm.
LaBoda wins SA presidency
Junior John LaBoda emerged as the victor after a tough race for the Students? Association President March 29. LaBoda, who received 477 out of the total 1,184 votes cast, eclipsed runner-up Mindy Fountain by 207 votes.
?I?m definitely very excited,? LaBoda said. ?I?m looking forward to doing a good job for the university next year.?
Out of 3,900 undergraduates, approximately 30 percent participated in the elections this year. This was roughly a 5 percent greater turnout at the polls as compared to last year.
LaBoda, who has experience as both a Hill Court and Fraternity Quad Senator, named sophomore Lonny Mallach his chief of staff Monday, April 23. Mallach served as chief of staff for last year?s SA President Meng Wang.
LaBoda emphasizes communication between the student body and government.
?I want to let students know that they shouldn?t feel afraid to come present ideas to the president or senate,? he said.
LaBoda?s long-term goals include coordinating different activities with other universities and dealing with campus diversity problems.
He intends to continue the fight for a campus pub and work with the administration on dining plans to promote more student satisfaction.
Incumbent Wang received the third-highest number of votes at 182. Fountain received 270 votes. The last official candidate, Samay Gheewala, received 140 votes.
Reporting by Mansi Desai, Kara DeSantis, Thomas Paris, Cecilia Le and Jessica Yu.