FBI in contact with DePauw as officials continue to investigate series of racial threats

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GREENCASTLE, Ind. – Students at DePauw University stormed a press conference hosted by the school’s president on Wednesday.

President Mark McCoy was holding the press conference to speak about recent race-related incidents, including racist threats found in a restroom; an incident of a student “engaging in offensive behavior at the Duck;” and a racial slur formed by rocks in a park near campus.

The students at the press conference told McCoy their safety should be his number one concern. They chanted, “We are not safe. Meet our demands.” McCoy told students their voices are heard and that they were working on the issues and recognized the need to get answers.

The recent incidents at the school have even drawn the attention of the FBI. The bureau says it has been in contact with the university as the investigation into the series of racial threats continues.

“We are aware of the incidents on DePauw University’s campus and have been in contact with officials at the university,” said the FBI in a statement.

Tuesday, students protested during a Jenna Fischer speaking event. Videos from inside the auditorium showed students interrupting Fischer, saying “stop excusing problematic behavior" and "don't give them protection when they're attacking us." Their voices were raised and filled with emotion.

Fischer released the following statement on Wednesday, saying she would use the full amount she was paid by DePauw to make equal donations to the NAACP, The Anti-Defamation League, and the Trevor Project in the name of the students of DePauw University.

Several students who spoke with CBS4 claim there have been dozens of issues at the school, and they say the administration is not being transparent. They say they do not feel safe.

“These threats also come with past incidents as well. Last semester there was a noose found not too far from campus. These threats are very real,” said President of DePauw University Association of African American Students Kaleb Anderson.

Some protesters think catching one or two people won't fix the issues on campus.

"It will start with our demands and those being met and other schools taking notice and taking action,” said Vice President of DePauw University Association of African American Students Trishaunna John.

Earlier this week in a letter to students, McCoy said authorities and the administration are investigating each of the racist incidents.

McCoy said in addition to investigating the incidents, they have launched bias team reviews, added additional safe ride and campus escort vehicles and created an email address, incident@depauw.edu, to report information. McCoy also said they're scheduling meetings with faculty, staff and student campus leaders and planning to schedule a campus-wide gathering.

“Reprehensible events are a stain on that legacy and one we will not allow to stand so we are committed to addressing these challenges and make sure that our students feel heard and feel safe,” said DePauw University President Mark McCoy.

The students said they gave the university a list of eight demands they wanted met pertaining to safety and educating the community. A university spokesperson said the university president and his cabinet responded to those demands Wednesday. One thing approved was a temporary house for AAAS and an eventual return to their former space.

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