Ford to campus: "We will not tolerate hate"
University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford delivered a strong message to a standing-room only audience Thursday night at the Student Center Cinema. "I want everyone at UW-Parkside to know we will not tolerate hate or threats of any kind," she said.
The campus-wide meeting, the second of the day, was in response to threats discovered in a university residence hall Wednesday night and Thursday.
Late Wednesday, Feb. 1, a noose fashioned from rubber bands was found in Pike River Suites. Early Thursday morning, Feb. 2, the person who reported the incident received a threatening note. Later in the day, other threatening notes were discovered.
UW-Parkside Police Chief James Heller said immediate steps have been taken to ensure the safety of all UW-Parkside students. Assisted by officers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Department and deputies from the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department, the UW-Parkside Police Department has increased patrols in residence halls, parking areas, and the main academic complex.
"At the University of Wisconsin-Parkside we're proud of the diverse living and learning environment the campus offers our students, faculty, staff, and the communities we serve," Ford said. "The type of behavior displayed by a very small number of people is not tolerated and will not be tolerated here."
The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department is leading the criminal investigation. "When the situation escalated, our work with law enforcement changed," Ford said. "We will find the person or persons responsible."
Thursday night's meeting was attended by close to 400 students, faculty, staff, and community members. Chancellor Ford expressed pride in what she called a, "real showing of campus community."
Ford also expressed her appreciation for support from surrounding communities. "We are here to assist in any way we can," said Veronica King, president of the NAACP Kenosha Branch.