"It's happening more than we would like to think" admits Lecia Brooks, while discussing racial slurs.
Brooks works with the Southern Poverty Law Center, one of many groups who hope the recent incident involving University of Alabama graduate student, Justin Zimmerman becomes a learning opportunity.
Zimmerman says someone directed a racial slur at him while walking past the Delta Tau Delta house on Friday.
"It should be a surprise that this is happening. But it's really not because it's actually quite a frequent occurrence."
For the SPLC, incidents like this have potential threat marks.
Brooks states, "This is a biased incident, often times racial slurs are precursors to violent hate crimes."
Brooks says fear is the common thread in issues dealing with race. Which is why it's important to discuss race, transitioning fear into respect.
"People are frightened to engage in the conversation. No one wants to be called a racist and that's fine. We just need to talk about these things."
The national Delta Tau delta fraternity declined to comment on the situation...or any potential disciplinary action for the person involved...but for brooks, dealing with the situation head-on is the only option.
"A university setting is the first time people move out of their own racial communities. This young man probably brought whatever bias he has with him to the university."
A lesson learned for university students, without ever stepping into a classroom.