A case of racist vandalism on a Michigan campus has left African-Americans among the student body confused and upset. But more than anything else, they are angered that the person responsible was Black.
Eddie Curlin, an African-American man who was a former student at Eastern Michigan University, was found responsible for spraying the school campus with racist “KKK” and “N-word” messages that disrupted and sent shockwaves through the quiet school community, reports the Ann Arbor News.
“To know that it was a person of color is hurtful,” Jaiquae Rodwell, told campus newspaper the Eastern Echo. “As a Black student, to know that another Black person is using the N-word in a negative way is embarrassing.”
University officials said that Eddie Curlin was behind the spray-painted graffiti messages on the Ypsilanti, Mich., campus and on Monday he pleaded guilty to three counts of malicious destruction of property and no contest to four counts of identity theft.
After police conducted after a lengthy investigation of more than 1,000 hours, Curlin was found to be the culprit. But he is already in jail serving a one-to-five year sentence on unrelated charges for concealing stolen property. He was a student at the school from 2014 to 2016.
“It was an individual item done by one individual, Robert Heighes, the campus chief of police, told the student newspaper the Echo.
According to news reports, Curlin vandalized three exterior buildings. Students first found “KKK” written in red, white, and blue paint on the side of a dormitory in September. It had a threat for black students to “leave” the school.
Then on Halloween a racist message was left near a monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, with the n-word telling black students to leave again.
Another racist message was left in a men’s restroom stall.
“It really has rocked our community,” Judith Kullberg, a political scientist at the school, told The Washington Post. “In this whole context of a very tense presidential election, it has raised anxiety here considerably.”
Curlin has been ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to Eastern Michigan and Capital One by a Washtenaw County, Mich., judge, according to the Ann Arbor News.