Elmhurst reopening campus, continuing probe into 'hate messaging, threats'
Classes at Elmhurst College are set to resume Wednesday after a two-day closure to investigate multiple instances of hateful messages and nonspecific threats found in campus buildings, authorities said.
The campus was closed and classes were canceled Monday and Tuesday, one week after the first report of racial and homophobic slurs found written in a residence hall bathroom, according to reports from "The Leader" student newspaper.
The investigation into what the college termed "multiple incidents of vandalism, involving hate messaging and nonspecific threats" is ongoing, college officials said about noon Tuesday. Elmhurst police did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
As the campus prepares to reopen Wednesday, the school is providing additional security and counseling for students, faculty and staff, President Troy VanAken said in a news release.
Elmhurst police are adding patrols and sharing other law enforcement resources with the campus security force, and "key leadership groups" are meeting Tuesday to prepare Wednesday's return to be "safe, positive and productive," the news release said.
The string of messages has involved at least five cases, three of them discovered last week in a second-story bathroom of the Niebuhr residence hall, one found Sunday evening in a women's restroom stall in the A.C. Buehler Library and another spotted Monday afternoon in the Dinkmeyer residence hall.
VanAken said the decision to cancel classes and close the campus -- but not enforce a lockdown -- on Monday and Tuesday allowed an opportunity to focus on the investigation, assess campus needs and determine the best ways to provide support.
"Our safety and well-being are paramount to creating the kind of campus where we all can thrive," he said.