Police presence was increased and a new campus security Web page went online Thursday as authorities investigated restroom graffiti that said, "ISU is the next NIU."
Illinois State University’s new campus security Web page went online at 9 a.m. Thursday.
The timing couldn’t have been better.
There was an increased police presence on campus Wednesday night and Thursday after graffiti that referenced the shootings at Northern Illinois University was discovered in a restroom at a residence hall.
"ISU is the next NIU" was written in black marker on a stainless steel toilet paper dispenser in a ninth-floor restroom at Whitten Hall. Campus police were called at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"There’s no evidence to suggest that this isolated incident poses a greater threat to campus security," ISU President Al Bowman said in a statement. "Still, the tragedies at NIU and Virginia Tech mandate that we take the incident seriously, and we keep the university community completely informed."
Bowman sent an e-mail to ISU students, faculty and staff members Thursday morning that discussed the graffiti and the university’s response to it.
Following the Feb. 14 shootings at NIU, Bowman directed ISU staff to consolidate campus security information on one page of the university’s Web site (www.IllinoisState.edu).
"Even though we didn’t want it to happen that way, Wednesday’s incident gave us a great opportunity to publicize the new page," said ISU spokesman Jay Groves.
The page has information about reporting campus emergencies, how campus and Normal police will respond to emergencies, how individuals should respond to emergencies, current and developing campus security measures, crime prevention techniques and personal safety tips.
Among other facts, readers of the page can learn that there are more than two dozen outdoor emergency call boxes across the ISU campus that are linked to the campus police.
Groves said the university considers the Whitten Hall graffiti more vandalism than a threat.
"There were no specifics like a time or a place mentioned, and we hadn’t had previous problems with graffiti in that bathroom," Groves said.
Steve Stein can be reached at (309) 686-3114 or firstname.lastname@example.org