Northern Illinois University officials plan to pursue charges after a derogatory word was spray-painted on the Center for Black Studies building. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. President Lisa Freeman issued a campus wide statement decrying the action. She said the paint has since been removed. The university will host a virtual, campus conversation Thursday night to discuss the incident.
I’m writing to make you aware of an incident that occurred overnight and the actions we’re taking to address it.
Late last night, the N-word was spray-painted on the Lincoln Highway side of our Center for Black Studies building. As soon as NIU learned of this racist and hurtful act, our police department documented it for evidence and had it removed. The police are investigating this as a hate crime, and the university intends to pursue all charges available under the law.
This type of act, done under the cover of darkness, comes from a place of hatred, bigotry, cowardice and a lack of education -- the very things NIU stands against and will not tolerate. It’s even more harmful that a building devoted to teaching, learning, understanding, advocating and celebrating Black culture was the target.
It deeply pains me to see that people want to intentionally hurt others with their words and actions. To our Black students, faculty and staff, I can only try to imagine the pain you feel. Please know that your university community is here to support and protect you.
Actions like this only affirm our values and the pursuit of our mission. They should ignite within us even more resolve to personally and professionally confront racism and to step up as allies. At 8 p.m. tonight, the university will host a virtual, campus conversation via Zoom to discuss this incident so that we can come together and address any questions or concerns.
If you have any information about the incident, I urge you to contact NIU Police (815-753-1212) or utilize the Bias Incident Reporting form. We must stand together, unified as Huskies, and never tolerate racism.
Lisa C. Freeman