Third message from the president: Investigation on-going

The+torn+jacket+from+a+multicultural+fraternity+%28Sigma+Beta+Rho%29+was+found+hung+by+a+tree+near+the+Green+this+morning.+%0APhoto+by+Blake+Allen

The torn jacket from a multicultural fraternity (Sigma Beta Rho) was found hung by a tree near the Green this morning. Photo by Blake Allen

Alex Wilson

 Message from the President

“I promised I would keep the campus community informed about developments in the jacket in the tree incident. Please keep in mind that information often changes as an investigation proceeds.

From store surveillance cameras, our police have video of six young men who purchased the rope and the stuffed animal just hours before witnesses saw it being hung from a tree, draped in a fraternity jacket. Four of the six have been identified; at least three are UNF students.

Of the six men in the video, two are African-American, two are people of color, another may be a person of color, and one is white. As mentioned above, two of these have not been positively identified.

The three students who police have been interviewed (African-American, Hispanic and white) are not associated with a fraternity.  They claim this was a prank and deny it was racially motivated. 

However, the investigation is not complete and police are continuing to track down leads and the other suspects as they seek to determine what prompted the hanging of the jacket.  As discussed in previous e-mails, racist acts are abhorrent acts and we will pursue the case to its rightful conclusion.

The University Police Department is also investigating the defacement of two tables near the Student Union with graffiti of an ethnic slur.  If anyone has any information, please contact the UPD at (904) 620-2800. 

Over the past week, I have met with numerous minority and multi-ethnic student groups to better understand their perspective and to seek advice on improving our community.  I have found these discussions to be very productive and I’d like to thank those whom I have met with, as well as those who reached out to me, for their willingness to be honest and open.  I have more sessions scheduled for next week, including meetings with minority faculty and staff. 

Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, vice president of Student and International Affairs, has had staff organize meetings with the multiple UNF entities tied to multiculturalism: the Commission on Diversity and Inclusion, Oupa Seane’s Intercultural Center for PEACE, Cheryl Gonzalez’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity, the LGBT Resource Center, The Women’s Center, and others to develop action steps.   

We expect some concrete proposals from these entities that we charge to create a positive campus racial and social environment.

I have always had an open door policy and in my last communication, I reiterated my offer to meet with any person or group about these issues.  For UNF to be a strong, inclusive university, I need to hear all perspectives and I am eager to listen. “

-President John Delaney

President John Delaney announced new details from the Sigma Beta Rho fraternity jacket investigation, including that several suspects have been identified, in an email to all students and faculty on Nov. 20.

While the investigation is on-going, Delaney continues to release periodic updates.

I promised I would keep the campus community informed about developments [about] the jacket in the tree incident,” said Delaney. “Please keep in mind that information often changes as an investigation proceeds.”

Delaney also revealed that security tapes helped police narrow their investigation to six suspects, of which four have been positively identified. Of these four, three are UNF students.

“Of the six men in the [surveillance] video, two are African-American, two are people of color, another may be a person of color, and one is white,” wrote Delaney. “The three students who police have been interviewed (African-American, Hispanic and white) are not associated with a fraternity.  They claim this was a prank and deny it was racially motivated.”

While this investigation is still underway, UNFPD is also looking into the defacement of two tables near the student union. According to Delaney, the tables had racial/ethnic slurs written on them.

Delaney went on to ask that anyone with information about either of these events should call UNFPD’s non-emergency number (904-620-2800). He also reminded students about his open door policy.
“I have always had an open door policy,” said Delaney. “For UNF to be a strong, inclusive university, I need to hear all perspectives and I am eager to listen.”

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