University of Southern Maine campus police were called to Glickman Library on the school’s Portland campus Friday after a man allegedly directed a racial slur at a student.

The female student said the man addressed her with a racial epithet, told her “go back to your country” and, when she took a photo of the man with her cellphone, told the student his taxes were probably paying for her phone, said Danielle Vayenas, USM’s director of communications.

The photo, which the student posted on Twitter and was reposted, shows a white man looking at a laptop and eating from a bag of chips. He has light brown hair and a full beard, and is wearing a tan baseball cap and headphones.

Vayenas said the woman reported the incident to library staffers, and then the woman and the staffers called campus police. Vayenas said campus police told USM officials they don’t believe the man is a student at the school.

Vayenas said the school’s assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, Mariana Cruz, will be at the school’s multicultural center at the Woodbury Campus Center on Monday from 1-4 p.m. for drop-in hours if anyone wants to discuss the incident. Vayenas also said USM wants to identify opportunities for future discussions on race and racism.

She said students return at the end of the month for the fall semester, so any events most likely won’t take place until they are back.

“It is important to know that the University of Southern Maine does not condone any form of harassment,” the school said in a statement Friday afternoon.


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