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Local News

Racist slur painted in front of NIU's Center for Black Studies building

Freeman: 'This type of act... comes from a place of hatred, bigotry, cowardice and lack of education'

Northern Illinois University freshman Daniel Clawson, (right) from Arlington Heights, gets some help loading up a cart from his brother Ben, 16, and his mom Diana as he moves in to New Residence Hall Wednesday during the first of five move-in days at NIU in DeKalb. Students, parents, staff and volunteer helpers were required to observe coronavirus safety precautions set out by the school including wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
Northern Illinois University freshman Daniel Clawson, (right) from Arlington Heights, gets some help loading up a cart from his brother Ben, 16, and his mom Diana as he moves in to New Residence Hall Wednesday during the first of five move-in days at NIU in DeKalb. Students, parents, staff and volunteer helpers were required to observe coronavirus safety precautions set out by the school including wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

DeKALB – A racist slur was found spray-painted on the street in front of Northern Illinois University's Center for Black Studies building on Lincoln Highway late Wednesday night, according to a letter from President Lisa Freeman sent to employees Thursday afternoon.

NIU Police documented the incident for evidence and had it removed. Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime, and Freeman stated that 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," Freeman stated in the letter. "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," the letter stated.

The university is holding a virtual, campus conversation via Zoom at 8 p.m. to discuss this incident and to address questions and concerns.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact NIU Police at 815-753-1212 or use the university's Bias Incident Reporting form.

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