EMU students protest overnight after racist graffiti

- Students at Eastern Michigan University are protesting after more anti-black graffiti was discovered on campus this week.

The protests include a sit-in early Wednesday at the EMU Student Center on the school's Ypsilanti campus. The students gathered in the student center about 10 p.m. Tuesday and stayed until the building closed.

That's when, we're told, police were called in to inform the students they were technically trespassing at that point, and to ensure the protest remained peaceful.

EMU authorities have been investigating after anti-black messages have been found on campus. Graffiti messages have been discovered three times so far this semester.

The university says the most recent graffiti was discovered Monday spray-painted on the exterior of Ford Hall and was immediately removed.

"It is very sickening," one student named Alex told us. "As a white male, I don't feel personally attacked, but a lot of people in there, I consider them my family, brothers, sisters, stuff like that. It hurts to know that I can't directly help them immediately."

On Tuesday, school President Jim Smith announced the creation of the President's Commission on Diversity and Inclusion. He says in a message to campus that the vandalism is "hateful" and says the school is working to foster respect, equity and inclusion.

The university has said that a reward for information about similar graffiti that appeared in late September has been doubled to $10,000 and applies to the latest incident as well. The earlier graffiti led to protests.

"We certainly understand when something like this happens, that people are affected and they're angry and they're upset and they want to make their voice heard, and that's what leads to what you saw today," says Walter Kraft, the school's VP of Communications.

Later Wednesday morning, a vigil is planned at 11 a.m. for students and faculty members to gather and raise awareness about the recent incidents on campus.

This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 2 for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this story 


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