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UWRF Chancellor responds to threats, vandalism

RIVER FALLS -- Chancellor Dean Van Galen again communicated with campus and community early Oct. 29 regarding the hate-speech vandalism found in a men's bathroom at the UW-River Falls Chalmer Davee Library Oct. 25 that threatened violence against African American and Asian people of the campus community on Monday, Nov. 2.

Van Galen said in an e-mail message, "Since the discovery of the graffiti, administrative, faculty, and student leaders on our campus have been taking numerous proactive steps to address this situation."

UW-RF police have been working with external agencies to have an increased law-enforcement presence on campus that day.

People are encouraged to call in with tips that could help the investigation or about suspicious behavior; dial campus police at (715) 425-3133.

University officials established a policy that enables students to stay home Monday if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe coming to class. A policy for staff and faculty will follow.

Emergency teams are double checking communication operations.

UW-RF's counseling services is coordinating with student organizations to address the needs and concerns of the campus population.

Superintendent of the River Falls Public Schools Tom Westerhaus informed parents of the campus incident and arranged for increased security at schools in the River Falls school district Nov. 2.

Van Galen said, "The outpouring of support from our students, faculty, and staff over the past few days has been inspiring. Several initiatives are underway that send a clear signal that messages of hate and intolerance have no place at UWRF."