Last year, a prominent white nationalist group hung a recruitment banner over Rivers Street. This weekend taught us, once again, that App State is not immune to hate speech on its campus when Nazi iconography was found spray-painted in a freedom of expression tunnel.
In 2016, 9.9 percent of hate crimes occurred at schools and colleges, according to the FBI.
Hate incidents are not only harmful to those who experience them firsthand. Hate incidents promote violence toward diverse students and fear in all students, faculty and staff.
The Appalachian does its best to cover hate on campus responsibly, without giving a platform to white supremacists or any other hate group. However, we cannot report on what we don’t know. Not every hateful action is shared widely on social media, and it is our responsibility as a news organization to keep students informed about what is important, not necessarily what is popular.
For these reasons, we have decided to participate in ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project. Documenting Hate helps to not only shed light on hate crimes and hate speech, but on lower-level incidents of harassment and intimidation, for which there is a lack of reliable data. Partnering with the non-profit ProPublica will help us cover more incidents of hate on campus and in Watauga County by giving us details about the incident and at least one source to contact.
Through this partnership, we hope to continue sharing accurate and important stories with the community that foster conversation.
What can you do?
If you are a witness or victim of a hate incident, fill out the Documenting Hate form found under the news navigation header on our website. Your story will be shared with ProPublica so that reporters and civil-rights groups can have a clearer picture of what’s happening and can reach out to you for more information. Your contact information will always be treated with respect and care, and your report will not be shared with law enforcement.
Use 911 in the event of emergency. To report a crime to Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, call 828-264-3761. To report a crime to Boone Police Department, call 828-268-6900. To report a crime to University Police, call 828-262-8000. To contact Counseling and Psychological Services, call 828-262-3180. For more information on sharing your story, visit ProPublica’s Documenting Hate page.