At some point between Tuesday night and the early hours of Wednesday morning, a message on the white board of a dorm room on the 15th floor of Coles Tower was vandalized. The initial message of "I Love Meatless Mondays" was maliciously edited to instead read, "I Love Meatful Mondays! Meatless Mondays Suck!!! F*g N***er."
The incident is thought to directly target the residents of the room. Soon after the incident was reported, Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster sent a campus-wide e-mail condemning the act and asking for information about who might be responsible.
"My reaction yesterday was angry and frustrated, and I continue to be angry, frustrated and amazed that someone on this campus would express themselves in that way," said Foster in an interview with the Orient.
"I'm confused as to what the motivation was beyond pure stupidity," said President Barry Mills. "There are not a lot of words that are fit for the newspaper that can express [how] disappointed [I am] in whoever did it."
"When you look at the values of our learning community which the commission on Residential Life created 15 or so years ago, [they] talk about mutual respect, civility of discourse, a notion of differences being prized and respected, freedom of inquiry and expression, a shared responsibility of the community, and this just flies in the face of all of that," said Foster.
"There's no place for this kind of behavior at Bowdoin, and when it happens we need to shine a light on it, and we need to come together as a community to address this," he added.
"I don't know what they were thinking, but personally it makes me really mad because that kind of hate against anyone seems pretty ridiculous," said Zachary Burton '14.
Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols revealed that the investigation is ongoing, but refused further comment.
While Mills stated that the College hoped to apprehend those responsible, he stated that the response of the community as a whole would be better served if it focused more on education and disciplinary measures.
"I'm eager for us to do whatever we can to figure out whoever the person or student is who wrote it, [and] there's certainly a disciplinary process that goes along with this type of hate speech," he said. "What you'd hope is that this really isn't about discipline but about education, and that you can educate someone to understand the implications and the effects of what they've done."
Mills explained that if the perpetrator was not found, the Bias Incident Group (BIG), which deals with anonymous bias incidents, would be brought together to issue a statement on the occurrence. BIG was called into action earlier this year following an incident of individuals in moving cars harassing students walking into town.
Foster announced in the campus-wide e-mail that an open discussion of the incident will be held on Sunday evening in Thorne Hall's Daggett Lounge.
"It's important for us to reach out to the community, to whomever feels at risk because of the words that are used, and allow them to understand that there's a community behind them that supports them," said Mills.
Residents of the targeted room declined comment for this article.