Elmhurst College To Reopen After Threatening Graffiti Found, Investigation Continues

Sun-Times Media Wire
October 29, 2019 - 1:23 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Elmhurst College will reopen Wednesday after being closed for two days because of an ongoing investigation into threatening graffiti messages found on campus in the western suburb.

Officials announced Tuesday that additional campus security officers will be present, and Elmhurst police will patrol the area as the school prepares to reopen, the college said in a statement. Counseling and other support services will be available for students, faculty and staff.

The campus was closed Monday after the graffiti was found in a women’s restroom stall, officials said. Additional messages found in a residence hall prompted the Tuesday closure.

It was unclear if the two messages were related, but investigators believed them to be “non-specific” threats, officials said.

The decision to close the campus provided an opportunity to focus on the investigation, Elmhurst College President Troy D. VanAken said in the statement.

“As we move forward, we will learn and grow from what has happened, and our campus community will become stronger,” VanAken said. “I look forward to seeing everyone around campus tomorrow.”

In a message to the campus community Tuesday, Elmhurst College President Troy D. VanAken said the decision to close the campus on Monday and Tuesday provided an important opportunity to focus on the investigation, even as additional vandalism was discovered. The College used that time to assess campus needs and determine the best ways to continue to support students, faculty, staff and campus community members.

“The decision to close campus yesterday and today was not made lightly,” President VanAken said in a message to campus Tuesday. “But our safety and well-being are paramount to creating the kind of campus where we all can thrive.”

On Tuesday night, there was another scare — though it turned out to be more of a misunderstanding. Elmhurst police were called for a report of a person possibly carrying a gun at Prospect Avenue and Walter Street on college property – which is a weapon free zone, according to CBS 2.

Police found the man, who turned out to be a concealed-carry license holder, according to Elmhurst College. The man was removed from campus without incident, and there was no threat to individuals, the college said.

The 48-year-old St. Charles man was on campus visiting his daughter.

“The timing of this event is unfortunate because of recent incidents on campus, but the College will reopen tomorrow morning as planned, with previously announced, enhanced security measures in place,” the college said.

Elmhurst College has 3,500 undergrad and grad students enrolled at the school. Police don’t believe any of the threats are credible at this time.

The investigation is ongoing into multiple incidents of vandalism.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire & Chicago Sun-Times 2019. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)