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Salisbury University closed Thursday after racist graffiti discovered, FBI investigates

Salisbury University President Charles Wright says campus police are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

SALISBURY, Md. — Officials at Salisbury University said college police are investigating multiple racist threats found on campus Wednesday afternoon. 

Salisbury University President Charles Wright said campus police are working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to "ensure the safety and security of all members of our campus community." 

"Not one, but multiple racist threats are being directed at Black and Brown members of OUR community," Wright said in a letter. "An attack on some members of our campus community is an attack on all of us, and we all need to respond."

The campus' NAACP chapter tweeted out a photo of the vandalism that references hangings and used a racial slur directed at the African-American community. The tweet indicated that the vandalism has since been painted over. 

Wright said Salisbury was choosing to cancel classes on Thursday "to provide a day of healing." The Counseling Center, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Multicultural Student Services Office will remain open to provide necessary support services to students. 

Credit: Twitter user @NAACP_SU
Warning: Tweet contains racist language.

It's not the first time Salisbury has dealt with racist threats on campus. In 2016, an image of a hanging stick figure with a racial slur and #whitepower was found on a whiteboard at Blackwell Library. 

RELATED: Image of hanging stick figure found on Salisbury University whiteboard

Last fall, racist and sexually explicit vandalism was found on the walls of a stairwell in Fulton Hall multiple times. Wright said in his letter to the community that the university had been working with authorities.

"As the investigation into all incidents continues, you may be contacted by FBI agents or other law enforcement officials, or see them on campus," Wright said. "I ask for your full cooperation in providing any information they may need."

Read the two full letters from Wright below: 

1. Racist Threats on SU Campus

"Tonight, our campus is under attack by a coward. Not one, but multiple racist threats are being directed at Black and Brown members of OUR community. An attack on some members of our campus community is an attack on all of us, and we all need to respond.

"I know these crimes have frightened members of our campus community, particularly Black and Brown students, faculty and staff. I am appalled by these vile acts which are not welcome on OUR campus and do not represent our values.

"I made the decision to cancel classes to give us all the opportunity to come together to process what we are experiencing, support each other and figure out how we can move forward together as a community.

"The SUPD continues to work with the FBI and allied law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of all members of our campus community. Since the first discovery of racist graffiti, we have taken every measure toward bringing the cowardly criminal or criminals to justice. We will not allow this to define us.

"An email is forthcoming with information on the activities and services that will be available tomorrow to support students, faculty and staff as we deal with this. I encourage faculty and staff to join with me in supporting our students and one another as we take back SU."

2. FBI Assisting with Vandalism Investigations – February 19, 2020

"Members of the SU Community,

"I was disheartened to learn today of another instance of racially charged and threatening graffiti on campus, this time in Henson Science Hall. The Salisbury University Police Department has launched an investigation into this new and distressing incident.

"Last fall, SU Police began an investigation into similar messages scrawled on the walls of two stairwells in Fulton Hall. Because of the sensitive nature of this case, we have not been able to divulge much information in that ongoing case. Today, I am at liberty to share a little more.

"Since last semester, SU has been working with the FBI’s Baltimore field office, as well as local allied law enforcement agencies, as part of the investigation. These agencies, which also include the Maryland State Police, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and Salisbury Police Department, as well as the FBI, have been notified of the most recent incident.

"As the investigation into all incidents continues, you may be contacted by FBI agents or other law enforcement officials, or see them on campus. I ask for your full cooperation in providing any information they may need.

"As you have so emphatically demonstrated in recent months, hate and discrimination will not be tolerated on this campus. I stand with you as we continue to navigate these difficult and unfortunate times.

"Any further details on the investigations will be posted at www.salisbury.edu/president as we are able to release them."

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