Eastern Michigan University Police working aggressively to solve incidents of racist vandalism that took place last fall

YPSILANTI – The Eastern Michigan University Police Department has committed more than 610 hours, equivalent to 76 full eight-hour days, in the investigation into identifying the criminal or criminals responsible for the incidents of racist vandalism that took place on Eastern’s campus early this fall.

The efforts include the execution of seven search warrants, two of which took place last week. In addition:

  • Possible suspects have been tracked down for questioning and 40 people have been interviewed;
  • More than 900 hours of video from more than 75 campus cameras has been reviewed;
  • Nearby businesses have been checked for video from their surveillance cameras;
  • Four officers have worked steadily checking leads through search engines and social media;
  • Wireless access logs for several buildings have been reviewed;
  • Entry card swipe logs for several buildings have been reviewed; and,
  • Ongoing consultation is underway with the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

All told, six EMU police officers and two dispatchers have been assigned to elements of the investigation, and several others have assisted. 


EMU Police Dispatch and video surveillance desk

Eastern Michigan University Police Chief Bob Heighes said, ”We have been working hard on this case from the very beginning, and continue to do so to this day as evidenced by the two new search warrants that we executed last week. We continue to follow up on leads, and the utilization of technology to track wireless log-ins, cellular data and social media is an active part of the investigative process.”

“The $10,000 reward is generating information and tips and we remain as determined as ever to solve this case,” said Heighes.

The first incident was reported on September 20, when a racist hate message was found spray painted on a rear, exterior wall of King Hall. On September 21, another message was found in a stairwell of a residence hall, and on October 30 a racist message was found spay painted on in exterior wall of Ford Hall.

EMU Police Chief Bob Heighes

“While these hateful actions made some of our students feel unsafe, it is important to note that during the time period since the first incident occurred, and through all of 2016, Eastern Michigan University did not have a single aggravated assault incident take place on our campus,” said Heighes. “Eastern remains a very safe place.”

EMU Police efforts related to the racist vandalism investigation are in addition to the day-to-day work to patrol and assist students, faculty and staff on campus and in patrolling areas of Ypsilanti surrounding the campus.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 22,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

January 09, 2017

Written by:
Walter Kraft

Geoff Larcom