My name is Synovia Knox and this is my REAL UW story.
On March 12, between the early hours of 1 and 2 a.m., in the “safety” of my dorm floor, I was the victim of a bias incident. What started as my friends and I calling it a night early and heading to my room to watch Netflix, ended with having to give the MPD a statement and watching my neighbor be escorted from the premises for his and our own safety.
Admittedly the volume of our voices probably didn’t reflect the hour on the clock. Admittedly we were probably laughing loudly down this hallway. But by no means does that give my neighbor the right to come out of his room and upon passing us tell us to “shut the fuck up.” I was having such a good night that I had to stop and ask my friends if he was serious, to which he replied, “Yes I am serious! I’m tired of you guys feeling like you can walk up this hallway and make all this noise. So Y’ALL NEED TO SHUT THE FUCK UP RIGHT NOW!”
By this time my friend has had just about enough of being cursed at and disrespected, and asks who my neighbor thinks he’s talking to? I step in front of my friend because I don’t want this to escalate. In an effort to calm the situation I say, “Look, you have your toothbrush in hand, obviously you didn’t come out here to have an argument. Why don’t you just go on to the bathroom, and we will go to my room, and this can just end right here.”
He says no. He then goes on to explain that HE is talking US! That we are on scholarship, so we have no right to be here anyway. That we are poor, and his parents can sue us for everything we own, which isn’t much. That we don’t belong here, and aren’t pulling our weight. That we need to shut the fuck up in “his” hallway, and get out.
He is red and sweaty and clearly out of line.
By this time people have started to come out of their rooms because they can hear the yelling. My friend and I are now yelling too. Yelling back at him, trying to defend our families, our scholarships and our entire races.
My neighbor is angry too. Angry because we are still in “his” hallway? Angry because we are still loud? Angry because we are on scholarship? I don’t know. All I know is that in the midst of his yelling he pushes me and my body hits the wall behind me. He continues yelling, now close to my face and I can smell the alcohol on his breath. A little piece of spit comes from his mouth while he’s yelling. Then he full on looked down at me and spat in my face. Right above my lip.
My cohort, members of my scholarship program, who have found themselves in the hallway upon hearing the yelling grab me and escort me and my friend to my room. Despite our obvious anger from the disrespect shown, my neighbor continues to yell and taunt us down the hallway. Other people stayed behind to hold him back, to keep him from following us. We close and lock my door but can still hear him from inside. Calling us poor, telling us we don’t belong here, telling us to bring it on because if we touch him, we are getting sued for everything we are worth.
Nearly my entire cohort has gathered either in my room to make sure I am OK, or outside to try and convince my neighbor to go to his room.
When the house fellows finally come down the hall, we explain to them what happened. They ask if we feel safe on this floor, and if we are alright. When the clear answer to both of those questions was no, we decided to call the police and file a report.
How could a night that started off so simply have ended up so out of control, so wild? Well the truth is, events like this aren’t so rare on this campus, but they are rarely reported. This IS #TheRealUW.