Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
UPDATE: Viterbo president: Probe into arson, racist messages concludes
0 Comments
featured

UPDATE: Viterbo president: Probe into arson, racist messages concludes

  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
Viterbo students protest racism (copy)

Viterbo students staged a walkout demonstration on campus in March to protests acts of racism at the university. Several hundred students, faculty and staff participated in the protest.

Viterbo University said it has completed its internal investigation into a series of hate-filled incidents and an arson attempt on campus in recent weeks, resulting in at least one expulsion.

President Glena Temple sent a statement to community members Friday stating that an unnamed student has been found responsible by the university for setting fire to a garbage can in a student lounge last month, and that “procedural steps are underway to expel” the student.

A Viterbo student who was one of the first to come forward claiming she was the victim of a racist graffiti on her dorm door was arrested by La Crosse police for the arson incident, but it’s unclear if she has been the one ultimately found responsible by the university.

Officials said that the internal investigation into the graffiti, which featured both racist and anti-LGBTQ messages, has also concluded, though they have only identified a “person of interest,” after a forensic handwriting analysis eliminated several individuals in question.

“The remaining person of interest will no longer be part of the Viterbo campus community,” Temple said in her statement.

It’s also unclear by the university’s statement whether the person responsible for the arson and the person of interest for the graffiti are the same student.

The university said it has shared a summary of its investigation with the La Crosse Police Department and that it will explore any new evidence that appears.

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.
{{featured_button_text}}

“Despite our best efforts, we may never be able to definitively prove who wrote the hate-filled messages, including both the racist and anti-LGBTQ+ incidents,” Temple said.

“I would like to reiterate that Viterbo University is committed to providing a safe educational environment for all students, and I urge anyone who witnesses harassment or discrimination, including hateful messages, to report it,” she said.

In March, hundreds of Viterbo students, staff and allies protested several reports from female students of color of racist messages written on their dorm room doors, followed days later with another graffiti incident, this time directed at an LGBTQIA+ student, the school said.

On April 18, just several days after a citywide protest over the death of Daunte Wright and the Viterbo incidents, firefighters responded to a call shortly after 2:30 a.m. for reports of a fire in a second floor residence hall lounge, which resulted in the arrest of student Victoria Unanka.

The university said it is sharing no further information on the investigation at this time.

Read the full statement from President Temple below:

“The internal arson investigation has concluded and procedural steps are underway to expel the student found to be responsible. This person will not return to Viterbo. The internal investigation into the hateful racist messages has also concluded. The forensic handwriting analysis eliminated several persons of interest and left one remaining person of interest, though a definitive handwriting match could not be established. The remaining person of interest will no longer be part of the Viterbo campus community. A summary of our investigation has been shared with the La Crosse Police Department, and we will explore any new evidence that may emerge. Despite our best efforts, we may never be able to definitively prove who wrote the hate-filled messages, including both the racist and anti-LGBTQ+ incidents. I would like to reiterate that Viterbo University is committed to providing a safe educational environment for all students, and I urge anyone who witnesses harassment or discrimination, including hateful messages, to report it.”

This story was updated at 1:30 p.m.(tncms-asset)9261db7a-f678-5beb-818f-bbbb4fe3d0cb[0](/tncms-asset)(tncms-asset)1b5a72c3-0436-5b49-9463-d21452281f42[1](/tncms-asset)

"Despite our best efforts, we may never be able to definitively prove who wrote the hate-filled messages, including both the racist and anti-LGBTQ+ incidents."

Glena Temple, Viterbo president

Quote
0 Comments
0
0
0
0
1

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News