DEAR HARRIETTE: About three months into my first semester at college, I had friends from home over for the weekend. We all got a message from our freshman Facebook group where the girl next door wrote that the girls next door to her (meaning us) are really loud and need to be quiet. My friends and I thought it would be funny to all "like" the message.
One of my friends thought it would be a good idea to see what other social media pages she might be writing about us on. We looked her up and found her Twitter account, which was public. We scrolled through the messages and found she had been writing about us for some time. We were curious to see how far the messages went and were able to trace them back to the first weekend on campus. She wrote things like "the girls next door are ratchet," "they are slutty," and that she would kill us in a heartbeat if she could. Numerous people she was friends with on Twitter commented that it was racist and that they hoped that we see what she's been writing about us. Her response was she was afraid to actually confront us because we are black and we would kill her.
We took screenshots of all the messages and texted them to our residence adviser, who informed campus police and our area coordinator, and they came to talk to us the next night. We then received an email from the dean of student life to meet about the issue, but after the meeting, we have not heard a response as to what will happen next. School is starting up again, and I want to know how to be safe when I don't know if this girl is serious or not. -- Unsafe, Newton, Miss.
DEAR UNSAFE: Given the rash of school violence at colleges across the United States, it is wise for you to be concerned about your safety after a student -- your next-door neighbor -- threatened, in writing, to kill you. Even if this was a joke, it is not funny, and your school administrators should take it very seriously.
If you haven't already, tell your parents about this incident in detail. Show them the captured Twitter messages. When you get back to school, speak to your RA and the dean of student life and ask for an update. If you get no response, go higher, all the way up to the president of the university if needed.
Too often threatening, racially charged behavior goes unchecked in a college setting. Who knows why this young woman went on a Twitter crusade about you and your friends? Could be you ticked her off because of the noise. Could be she has no friends and is jealous of you and yours. Her behavior could be harmless, if rude. But because it could also escalate to dangerous proportions, you deserve to be updated on how your college is handling the matter. Enlist your parents' help if you continue to get no answers.