A suspect has been identified in connection with racist graffiti scrawled on a wall and a door in two academic buildings this week at Salisbury University, authorities said Friday.
University President Charles A. Wight canceled classes Thursday following the discovery of graffiti that threatened black students with lynching. The incident at the public university on Maryland’s Eastern Shore was reported to campus police, who worked with the FBI to identify a suspect, according to a statement. Officials said they do not believe the individual is a member of the campus community.
“The racist threats scrawled on walls and doors in our academic buildings caused a great deal of fear among members of our community,” Wight said in a statement Friday. “We hope that this significant development in the investigation helps to reassure the SU community and will rebuild our collective sense of security.”
The incident has been referred to the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office. It was not immediately clear if the suspect has been charged with a crime.
In November, Salisbury University police launched an investigation into messages drawn on the walls of two stairwells in Fulton Hall that warned, “Sandy Hook comes to SU kill [racial slur].” Images of the comment, which appeared to refer to the 2012 shooting that left 26 people dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., were posted on social media. Police have made no arrests in that incident.
In response to the November episode, the university announced diversity initiatives, including a national search for a chief diversity officer; a campus climate survey to allow students, faculty and staff to share information about their experiences at the school; and quarterly town hall meetings with administrators.
“It is only by embracing diversity that an educational institution can fully realize its potential for educational excellence,” Wight said Friday. “Working together constructively, we must now take the next steps toward building and maintaining a collaborative culture of inclusion that supports this excellence at SU.”