A residence hall director at Iowa State University made an uncomfortable discovery when he found racial slurs spray painted throughout his residential storage room.
WHO13 reports that Neo Thurston Jr., a 29-year-old Black man, entered the room and found that various forms of hate speech, including the N-word, were spray-painted on the floor, shelving unit and water heater. “Messages that were directed and targeted toward the Black community. Hateful messages towards the Black community,” Thurston told WHO13.
On Tuesday, an investigation initiated by ISU Police found 18-year-old Nathan Page responsible for the crime. Page admitted to the vandalism and now faces charges of criminal trespass with vandalism as well as 3rd and 4th degree criminal mischief. The university is currently working with the county attorney to determine whether Page will receive enhanced or additional charges.
“I certainly was not rejoicing. I was unhappy because for me having a student arrested on any day is not my goal,” Thurston told the news outlet.
Investigators identified Page as a suspect by tracing electronic key card access to the building. Additionally, Page carved his initials into Thurston’s television and a shirt he was seen wearing in surveillance footage was found in the storage room.
Basically, Page snitched on himself.
Thurston was deeply affected by the vandalism and is struggling with finding forgiveness for Page. “Forgiveness is the ethic of care and is a tenet that I would love to espouse, but at this time I am still processing that and how that would look with this individual,” he said.
Ultimately, Thurston hopes this will be a learning experience for Page and will inspire others to take up the fight for social justice.
“As a Black person in America these instances aren’t only singled to me or to the community I live in, but we all experience these incidents so it is important we all get in the fight,” Thurston said.