June 3, 2022
Dear OSU Community Members,
I write to inform you that at least one Oregon State University student on the Corvallis campus was sent threatening, racist messages via text on Thursday evening, June 2. These messages were sent from an unknown phone number and included threats to damage the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center (LBHBCC). While we don’t currently have evidence that the student or the center are in imminent danger, these messages are extremely concerning and wholly unacceptable.
I want to be very clear – threats like this damage and harm the entire university community. The university will do everything in its power to hold accountable those who are responsible for these threats. We will not tolerate racist incidents like this, and individuals who engage in such conduct are not welcome at OSU. We will continue to work to create a university where every community member feels safe and valued. Anything less is inexcusable.
It is especially painful that these threats come on the heels of other recent racist incidents, like the mass shooting in Buffalo, N.Y., which was motivated by white supremacist ideology. These incidents have particularly impacted members of the Black community and members of other communities of color. The accumulation of grief resulting from these incidents takes a terrible toll, especially on students who also are managing the demands of classes and final exams. We cannot and will not accept this as the status quo.
OSU’s Department of Public Safety has moved quickly to open an investigation into these threats. DPS staff are actively investigating, have increased patrols around the LBHBCC and are available for any needs that may arise. DPS is also in contact with state and federal law enforcement agencies to aid in the investigation. Please contact DPS directly 541-737-3010 to share any information you may have regarding this or related incidents.
We also are prioritizing the safety and support of the student who received these messages and the wider LBHBCC community.
Students seeking support and community are encouraged to visit the Dr. Lawrence Griggs Black and Indigenous Student Success Center in the Memorial Union, room MU61. The Griggs Center will be staffed today and next Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mental health and wellness resources are available for students on the Corvallis campus through Counseling and Psychological Services and may be reached 24 hours a day by calling 541-737-2131. Counseling services at the OSU-Cascades campus are available by emailing [email protected]. Faculty and staff seeking support may contact Beyond Benefits or the Office of Institutional Diversity at 541-737-1063.
In closing, I ask that each of us determine what we can do to continually confront racism in our communities. There are multiple opportunities at Oregon State University to learn and act. This work must involve us all working in solidarity.
Scott A. Vignos, J.D.
Interim Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer