“The Virginia Tech Police Department continues to investigate this matter. We are making the community aware of this graffiti and seeking the community’s assistance.”
Obaid Rehman, president of the Muslim Student Association at Virginia Tech, said Muslim students were responding with fear, discomfort, and disappointment. “It’s unsettling that this kind of thing can take place here. It’s very disappointing that this rhetoric of hate is present.
“… Unfortunately, this rhetoric has become acceptable in many ways that people talk about Islam. Islamaphobia is becoming normalized in many ways in our society. But there are many more good people than bad, as we can see from the university reaction to this event.”
He said they had heard from many student groups offering support. “That’s a good community.
“.. If black, white, Jewish, Muslim. Hindu, whoever you are, whatever you believe, it’s very important that we all stand together and say you may be different than me… but at the end of the day we are all humans, we are all Americans, all part of one larger family.”
Mark Owczarski, a spokesman for the university, said, “It’s an ongoing investigation, and we hope sending out that notice to our community, which everyone at Virginia Tech got this afternoon, will help in the investigation… make people aware of what’s going on, take whatever steps they feel are necessary to support others and help themselves.”
“I think most students are probably alarmed and upset,” said Tanushri Shankar, a senior from Rockville, Md. who is the president of student government on campus. Some students reached out to her to ask if there were ways to help. “But we’re grateful for the work the Virginia Tech police department is doing, and their leadership.”
Several universities across the country have responded to anonymous violent threats recently, with fears particularly high after a student at a community college in Oregon killed nine people in the fall.
Virginia Tech has been through profound tragedy. In 2007, a student shot 32 people before killing himself.