Police on Tuesday were investigating who was behind racial graffiti found scrawled inside a residence hall at Rider University’s campus in Lawrenceville.
School officials discovered the n-word written with a dry-erase marker on nine doors in Gee Hall on Sunday morning, according to Lt. Charles Edgar of the Lawrence Police Department.
Police believe the graffiti was written between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday, but as of Tuesday afternoon, had no specific leads or suspects.
Edgar said at least one black student lived in one of the rooms.
“(We’re) still investigating, interviewing the occupants of the rooms and other residents to see if there’s any link to believe someone was specifically targeted,” Edgar said. “We’re doing the best we can to get any leads with the goal of solving this thing.”
In addition to interviewing potential witnesses and residents of the building, Edgar said police have increased their presence on campus by making more rounds to the school.
School spokesman Daniel Higgins said the graffiti was cleaned up after police examined it, and students were never moved from Gee Hall, which does not have interior surveillance cameras.
Higgins also said he wasn’t aware of any racial tensions at the university, which has almost 5,800 students.
“We think this is an isolated incident,” he said.
President Mordechai Rozanski issued a statement condemning the act on Monday.
“We take this matter very seriously and will not stand for members of our community being marginalized,” Rozanski said. “Rider University is a place dedicated to learning, diversity and social responsibility. There is no place on this campus or anywhere else for acts of intolerance and repugnant behavior.”
Rozanski on Monday discussed the incident with student leaders, who decided to hold a “Unity Vigil” to “reaffirm our commitment to our community values,” Higgins said.
Groups organizing Wednesday evening’s vigil, which include the Student Government Association, Center for Multicultural Affairs and Community Service and Women’s Center, urged students to wear cranberry, one of the school’s colors.
A vigil was also to be held at the school’s Westminster campus in Princeton.
Racial incidents have been popping up around the country recently, particularly since the case of the Jena Six a group of black teenagers charged with the beating of a white student made headlines. The Louisiana incident happened after nooses a symbol of the lynching violence of the segregation era were hung from a tree on a high school campus there.
Since then, there have been a number of other nooses found in high-profile incidents around the country in a black Coast Guard cadet’s bag, on a Maryland college campus, and, last week, on the office door of a black professor at Columbia University in New York.
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