September 22, 2016

Update on racist graffiti incidents, related actions

To EMU students, faculty and staff:

The EMU Police investigations into the two racist graffiti incidents reported over the last several days continues. Police have received several tips since the $2,500 reward was announced yesterday, and each of those tips is being fully investigated. We are hopeful that the information we are receiving will help solve these crimes. If you have any information that will help, please contact the EMU Police Department at 734-487-1222 or call the tip line at 734-487-4847.

EMU Police investigated a rumor last night about a supposed threat made to student in a residence hall in the form of a note left under the door in the student’s room. The rumor turned out to be false; no such note was left and no threat was made.

A prayer & unity rally sponsored by the University Christian Fellowship is scheduled for today at noon by the Lake House.

Last night, Student Body President Tanasia Morton led a vigil at the Martin Luther King Jr. Gardens, which was attended by many students, faculty, staff and community members. Four members of the Ypsilanti City Council attended and read a resolution in support of Eastern’s students and campus community.

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners passed a similar resolution last night, which stated its support for the University for its “swift and clear denunciation of such hateful acts and their continued longstanding commitment and practice of ensuring the safety and welfare of their students and faculty along with the broader community.”

Yesterday, President Smith issued a second update about the incidents, reiterating the University’s strong condemnation of these hateful acts and our resolve to identify the person or people responsible and bring them to justice. He also spoke of the ongoing effort among our Academic and Student Affairs teams to meet with student leaders and other students, and the importance for the University community to come together to further address the broader issues of racism behind these incidents. If you did not receive it, you can read the entire message here.

In addition to the reward offering, other short-term measures were announced yesterday. They include increased police and walking patrols and an anonymous institutional feedback form, in which members of the campus community can submit questions, concerns and requests for institutional actions related to race and diversity, Many people have left comments on the form already and we encourage others to do so as well. These will be reviewed and used to help generate further actions to address these matters.

We plan to continue to provide additional updates in the days ahead, and will advise immediately in the event of further significant developments in the investigations.

Contact Geoff Larcom, glarcom@emich.edu, 734.487.4401

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