Racist graffiti incident

October 31, 2016

To the Eastern Michigan University community:

Earlier this morning, we learned of an incident of racist graffiti targeting the Black community that was spray painted on the east side exterior of Ford Hall. EMU Police responded to the scene and the graffiti was immediately removed. It is not known at this time about the availability of camera images but the investigation of the incident will receive the full attention of the EMU Police.

There is no place on our campus for these kinds of hateful actions and I am deeply angry and saddened that it occurred. Our Police officers continue to investigate the incidents in late September. They have responded to many tips and continue to actively pursue them. The $5,000 reward for the previous incident is now being doubled to $10,000 and will apply to this incident as well. We encourage anyone with information that will be helpful in either of the cases to come forward and contact EMU Police at 734.487.1222 or the tip line at 734.487.4847.

The deeper and systemic issues that are behind these incidents continue to be a focus for our student leaders, our faculty, our administration and all who care about this institution and the welfare of our students. These incidents run counter to the values and mission of the University and our actions over the past several weeks and going forth have and will continue to reflect that. 

Again, I am personally angered and saddened, and want to convey my strong sense of resolve in finding out who is behind these incidents and in continuing to come together as a campus community to confront hate and racism, and promote an environment of mutual understanding and inclusion. 

Our campus community members are strongly encouraged to support our Black students and employees at this time.

I promise to keep you apprised of our efforts in investigating these hateful incidents and in working with campus leaders regarding their concerns and conducting further campus discussions on these matters. There will be a forum this week. Details about date, time, location, and format will be determined and shared after meeting with our Black student leaders.

A website has been developed as a resource for ongoing updates and information about the racist graffiti incidents. The site includes links to campus update messages sent to date to students, faculty and staff; forums that have taken place; and, information about resources available to the campus community, including counseling services provided by the offices of Counseling and Psychological Services and Diversity and Community Involvement.

The Intersection, a social justice centered lounge for underrepresented students located at 266 Student Center, will be open today for any student who would like to stop in to share their thoughts and concerns.

Please visit the resource page for additional information. If you have specific concerns, questions or suggestions regarding these incidents, please convey them through the anonymous feedback form.

President Jim Smith

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