A former student at Eastern Michigan University has been charged with vandalism over racist graffiti posted on the campus since the fall of 2016. Twenty-nine-year-old Eddie Curlin faces “three counts of malicious destruction of property, four counts of identity theft, and one count of using computers to commit a crime,” according to a university statement.
In September 2016, “KKK” was spray-painted in red, white, and blue on a dormitory wall. A month later, on Halloween, a message was scrawled on another wall telling blacks to leave and referring to them with the n-word, reports The Washington Post. Then, this past September 27, a message on a stall in a men’s bathroom of the student center used the n-word in calling for black people to “die,” according to Eastern Michigan’s student newspaper, The Eastern Echo. Mr. Curlin is black.
Jaiquae Rodwell, a black student at the university, told the Echo that it’s “embarrassing” for another black person to use “the n-word in a negative way.”
Eastern Michigan’s police department, along with the FBI and other local police departments, committed more than 1,000 hours to the investigation, interviewing more than 60 people and watching 1,200 hours of video from 100 campus cameras, according to the university’s statement.
James M. Smith, Eastern Michigan’s president, said the vandalism had “created significant pain, fear, and distress among our students, faculty, and staff.” Since the incidents, the university has added more lighting and cameras to the campus, and established a Presidential Commission on Diversity and Inclusion.
According to the Post, Mr. Curlin is now serving a one- to five-year sentence for receiving and concealing stolen property. His preliminary hearing on the new charges will take place on November 9.