Originally published by the Collegiate Times as Breaking News.
Published online on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015.
The Virginia Tech Police Department is investigating a graffiti threat in a university bathroom after a Monday, Nov. 2 alert was emailed to students.
The graffiti on a bathroom stall in Price Hall stated, “I will be here 11/11/2015 to kill all muslims (sic).”
A VT Police email alert was sent at 2:03 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5 titled, “SITUATIONAL AWARENESS — SEEKING ASSISTANCE.”
Police and Detective John Waid of the Investigations Unit are requesting information via phone, online or the LiveSafe app.
"We take any and all such vandalism and threats very, very seriously, and we're working very hard to solve the case,” said Mark Owczarski, vice president for university relations and spokesperson for the University. “If there was ever a moment in which the University felt there was even a remote possibility that you needed to know something for your safety, we would have told you — and we are telling you now.”
Virginia Tech Police declined to comment on this story at this time.
"I was a little scared, but I don't think anything tangible (will come of it), just because it's kind of a cowardly act to write it on a bathroom stall door,” said Rayan Salih, junior biochem major and treasurer of the Muslim Student Association (MSA). “It makes me a little cautious, just because sometimes I do forget that I wear this scarf.”
According to its GobblerConnect page, the MSA has 81 members.
"It was disappointing that there is somebody out there with so much hate that they would write something threatening a huge portion of our campus student population with violence,” said Obaid Khan, senior civil engineering major and president of the MSA. “If it's left unchecked, it will manifest itself in violence.”
VT Police sent reminders for all community members to be aware and cautious and reach out to VT Police, the Dean of Students Office or Hokie Wellness for additional support or care.
“The leaders on campus should really take a stand against this, especially leaders in the University,” Khan said. “Also student leaders should take a stand against this, united in the sense that one segment of our Hokie family here is being threatened with death.”
“I am so sad to hear something like this, especially in Virginia Tech, where we have a huge amount of diversity. We have people from everywhere in the world, from different cultures, different religions, and all of them are here to study and to work, and I am so sorry to hear that someone at Virginia Tech has this feeling towards Muslims,” said Haytham Almarakeby, a graduate student in computer science and treasurer for the Islamic Student Assembly (ISA).
Khan and Fawad Mohammad, vice president of MSA, have started a plan for MSA to stand in solidarity and to clarify what Islam is.
“I think this is based on the lack of knowledge, the lack of communication, the lack of understanding,” Almarakeby said. “I think the proper way to address this challenge, actually, is to increase awareness.”
Virginia Tech stands as one, echoing the strength the community has built over time.
“This is a critical moment in which we can all let each other know that yes, we are all different, yes, we have different backgrounds, yes, we might be from different ethnicities, we might follow different religions, but there's one uniting factor: the fact that we are not only all Hokies but the fact that we are all humans,” Khan said.
Both MSA and ISA are working to increase knowledge and clear misconceptions about Islam for students across campus.
“Something I really, really, really want to emphasize is that if you have questions, please, please ask,” Salih said. “This is one person, and this one person doesn't speak for the entire community. My three years at Virginia Tech have been amazing.”
Students can call Detective John Waid at 540-231-6790 or VT Police at 540-231-6411 with tips.