As the investigation of the two racist graffiti incidents on campus last week continues Eastern Michigan University President James Smith announced that the reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people involved has been doubled.
An anonymous university donor donated $2,500 to the initial reward fund and EMU is now offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or people who painted the racial graffiti.
"As I have said from the beginning of this investigation, we are committing the full resources of our university behind finding the people or persons involved," said President Smith in a news release. "There is no place on Eastern's campus for such hateful and intentional acts and we will continue to investigate until they are solved. These incidents have struck fear into many of our students and the most effective way for us to address this is by apprehending those responsible and ensuring they are punished to the fullest extent of the law."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and state of Michigan are assisting EMU's Department of Public Safety (DPS) as it conducts interviews and follows up on leads in its investigation.
"As a two-time Eastern alum, I and my board colleagues stand firmly behind the president [Smith] and our Department of Public Safety in the aggressive investigation to identify the person or persons responsible and bring them to justice," said Mike Morris, Board of Regents Chairman, in a statement delivered at the opening of the Sept. 30 Board of Regents meeting.
While DPS continues its investigation EMU has taken other action that includes:
- An Anonymous Electronic Feedback Form that allows every member of EMU to submit questions, concerns, or requests of institutional action regarding race and diversity issues at the university
- Police patrols expanded on campus to protect students
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offering more appointments for students who need to talk about the racist graffiti and other issues of racism in the community
- CAPS partnering with Diversity and Community Involvement to offer a series of drop-in groups
- Faculty members suggesting academic programming ideas to address the issues of racism and inclusion on campus
The Black Student Union is also holding a town hall event on Monday, Oct. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom as an opportunity for students to voice concerns and address the climate on campus. This will be the first of several upcoming forums that address the racist graffiti incidents on campus as well as issues of race and inclusion.
Black Student Union president Jaren Johnson issued a joint statement with student government leader Tanasia Morton when the first incident occurred on Tuesday, Sept. 20 that read, in part,
"In distressing times such as this, it is imperative that the student body, faculty, staff, and administration coalesce together in a show of solidarity. Despite the strife we may encounter, we will remain resilient and overcome vitriolic acts of prejudice. The utilization of fear-inducing mechanisms such as those displayed today will not deter the members of the Black Student Union from exhibiting our pride in the mission values and overeaching purpose of our organization to bring about unity to the entire campus."
Anyone with information related to the cases can contact EMU Police at 734-487-1222 or the EMU Police tip line at 734-487-4847.