Officials canceled classes Thursday at Salisbury University’s campus after racist threats were found there.
In a statement, officials at the college on Maryland’s Eastern Shore said they were canceling classes to “provide a day of healing following the most recent incident of threatening, racially charged vandalism” on the campus Wednesday.
Several offices, including the college’s counseling center and Office of Diversity, were to remain open Thursday, and the campus is expected to have “an increased police presence,” the statement said.
Authorities said the incident involved “racially charged and threatening graffiti” that was found in Henson Science Hall on the campus. No details were given as to exactly what the latest incident involved.
In November, police at Salisbury University started an investigation into “similar messages scrawled on the walls of two stairwells in Fulton Hall,” officials said in a statement.
The message found in November said, “Sandy Hook comes to SU kill [racial slur].” Images of the comment, which seemed to refer to the 2012 shooting that left 26 people dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., were posted on social media.
Officials said the university’s police department and the FBI’s Baltimore field office are investigating the latest incident as well.
Salisbury University President Charles A. Wight said in another statement posted online that the campus “is under attack by a coward.”
He said, “Not one but multiple racist threats are being directed at Black and Brown members of OUR community.”
Wight said he was aware that the incidents have “frightened members of our community, particularly Black and Brown students, faculty and staff.”
Wight added: “An attack on some members of our campus community is an attack on all of us, and we all need to respond.” He called the incidents “vile acts” that are “not welcome” on the campus and “do not represent our values.”
The Salisbury University Youth and College chapter of the NAACP condemned the actions and called on students to demand accountability from the administration.
“In times like this it is crucial that we act strategically, we will no longer tolerate these racist acts on our campus,” the group said in a statement. “It is time to make our voice louder than it has ever been. Do not lose hope and please keep fighting with us.”
Wight said he made the “decision to cancel classes to give us all the opportunity to come together to process what we are experiencing, support each other and figure out how we can move forward together as a community.”
The campus remains open Thursday, and officials said “faculty and staff are encouraged to come to work to support” students and the community.
Classes are expected to resume Friday.