April 6, 1996 in Nation/World

Gu Puts Bounty On Hate-Mail Author University Offers $25,000 Reward For Information

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Gonzaga University announced Friday a $25,000 reward for information leading to the identification of a campus hate-mail author.

In addition, the Spokane County Secret Witness program is offering $1,000.

GU officials said they are serious about ending the string of racist letters that have been sent to black law students three times in the past year.

The amount of the reward is an indication of the university’s concern, said Law School Dean John Clute.

“This shows the importance Gonzaga University is placing on returning some tranquility to the campus and stopping this act, these recurring acts,” Clute said at a press conference outside the administration building.

Clute said no suspects have been identified in an ongoing investigation by Spokane police and the FBI. The letters are considered malicious harassment, a felony under state law.

On March 22, two black law students received threatening racist letters at their apartments. The incident came almost a year after similar letters were sent to the same two students, and two others who have since left the university.

Students are criticizing Gonzaga for doing too little to solve the crimes and stop campus racism.

In recent days, the administration has responded by assuring students it intends to foster a climate of racial harmony, and encourage a strong minority presence.

“Any kind of hatred for anybody is out of place here,” GU President Bernard Coughlin said Thursday.

Coughlin said racism is not confined to Gonzaga. It is a problem throughout the region, but the university and its minorities have been victimized by the acts of a few, he said.

Clute said he is looking at request by Jewish law students on campus for an anti-hate institute at the law school.

Anyone with information about the racist letters is asked to contact Secret Witness at 327-5111. Callers do not have to identify themselves. A system can be set up for shielding the identity of any tipster, and getting them the reward.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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