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More racist graffiti shakes up a college

Eastern Michigan University students wait to speak to university president James Smith outside his home in September. (Melanie Maxwell/Ann Arbor News via AP)
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Racist graffiti targeting black people was found spray-painted on the outside of a classroom building Monday morning at Eastern Michigan University, a school that has already had protests after slurs were found on campus in September.

Another racial slur found on campus where KKK was found spray-painted on a wall

The public university is one of many campuses across the country where racial tensions have surfaced in ugly ways this fall, from white-supremacist posters found at the University of Michigan to slurs shouted at students at the University of Missouri to students in blackface at several campuses.

Slurs, blackface and gorilla masks: The academic year opened with racial ugliness

In September, after “KKK” and racial slurs were found painted on the outside of an administration building, more than 100 students gathered at the university president’s house, and protests and conversations about the incident continued in the days that followed, including  one at the football game that weekend.

The faculty senate at EMU condemned the incidents in September and had planned, with the support of the administration, “a day-long teach-in on racism, diversity and inclusion” this month. On Monday, they announced they would hold a vigil Wednesday at the classroom building where the spray paint had been scrubbed off, with faculty wearing black to show support for black students.

“It really has rocked our community,” said Judith Kullberg, professor of political science and president of the faculty senate. “In this whole context of a very tense presidential election it has raised anxiety here considerably.

“… Many of our students have expressed concern about their security on campus,” she said. “I understand those concerns – it is very disturbing.”

On Monday, James Smith, EMU’s president, sent a message to the campus community that racist graffiti targeting the black community had been found on a classroom building. It was removed and police are investigating. He wrote that campus police are investigating the incidents in September, that rewards for information in that incident had been doubled to $10,000 and that they would apply to this investigation as well.

The university will hold a forum this week after meeting with black leaders on campus Monday, he wrote, and a center would remain open for students upset by the graffiti.

The student government and black student union presidents did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Many people were reacting to the news on social media.

Smith wrote, “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.”

Homeless Eastern Michigan University stops donations to himself, and asks people to help others