Authorities investigate ‘reprehensible’ message posted on bathroom wall
DePauw University and Greencastle authorities are investigating a racial slur written on the bathroom wall in a university-owned building earlier this week.
Written in black sharpie on a bathroom wall at the Inn at DePauw, 2 W. Seminary St., the hateful, racially-charged message was ostensibly signed by someone purportedly representing the KKK.
Authorities believe the message was left about 11 p.m. Wednesday. DePauw administrators, however, were not made aware of it until about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Ken Owen, special adviser to DPU President Mark McCoy, told the Banner Graphic Friday.
“It’s a reprehensible act,” Owen said, noting the incident “sent shock waves through the (DePauw) community.”
“What a sophomoric way to communicate to begin with,” Owen added. “To put up something that hateful, something designed to divide.
“This is really unfortunate,” he continued, adding that DePauw has made great strides in diversifying the campus but the latest incident “is really a shot in the solar plexus.”
“I want to stress that at DePauw we’re very proud of our diversity,” Owen said. “Our diversity number is now 30 percent with 20 percent of students of color.”
The DePauw spokesman called it “troubling” that someone chose to express himself in such a hateful manner, stressing that officials believe there is just one perpetrator and the incident “is not reflective of the community.”
Authorities have been screening security camera footage, looking for whoever may have been coming and going at the inn at the time of the incident.
“We hope we can bring some closure to this,” Owen said, noting that if a perpetrator can be identified, DePauw is determined to have him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Owen said the university is “very appreciative of the city’s help on this.”
DePauw is also offering safe rides to students in the aftermath of the incident, which intensified when a picture of the message was posted on social media.
“We’re going above and beyond in the wake of this thing,” Owen added.
Meanwhile, DePauw President Mark McCoy released a statement to all students and staff about the incident and met with concerned students.
“Around 3:30 p.m. today (Thursday), we were notified that a racist and threatening, hateful slur was written on a restroom door at the DePauw Inn,” noted the statement signed by McCoy and Vice President for Student Academic Life Alan Hill.
“Public Safety began investigating this incident as soon as it was made known to us and we are working at this moment to gather all information we can. If the perpetrator is found, we will prosecute to the fullest extent of the law,” the statement continued.
“Our core values at DePauw cannot be stated often enough, and they include embracing diversity and respecting each other.
“As the Inn is a public space, we have reached out to the mayor and the chief of police and have been working with public safety since being informed. We will not tolerate hateful, racist slurs that demean or target anyone. Hate is not welcome here.”
McCoy and Hill said “if anyone has information about this incident, please contact Public Safety immediately.”