The dean of Gonzaga University’s law school said Monday he believes African American students in the school are being harassed by one of their classmates.
“It probably is a third-year law student,” Clute said. He shared his opinions with 100 students at the school in the basement of the law building.
“I think it’s one person,” Clute said. “It’s no surprise that this has taken place before final exams. This is all carefully planned. It’s been calculated and it’s very malicious.”
Clute said the fact that investigators haven’t been able to come up with a list of primary suspects leads him to believe that the racist incidents are an inside job.
Since March 1995, African American law students have received harassing telephone calls and hate mail, and at least one was a target of graffiti.
All the incidents have occurred shortly before final exams were scheduled.
Clute said in 1995, law enforcement investigators concluded that letters the students received were printed on a law school printer.
The next year it was discovered that some of the harassing letters were reproduced on a photocopier in the school.
Last week, a student found a racist letter in a backpack that was briefly left unattended in the law library.
Clute said two harassing telephone calls were directed at students on April 9. Two more students received calls the following day and two more were directed at students on Thursday, the same day the racist letter was put in a student’s backpack.
Eight African American students are enrolled in the law school. University officials haven’t released the contents of Thursday’s letter, but Clute said it was similar to those distributed in the last two years.
“It was threatening in tone and filled with racial epithets,” Clute said.
Clute said law enforcement officials have increased security and patrols around Gonzaga’s campus. He said the African American students in the law school have been offered any accommodations that they might need.
Clute drew similarities between this case and that of the Unabomber.
“They are both situations in which the perpetrators have great freedom, and there are absolutely no witnesses around,” Clute said.
The university is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the apprehension of whoever is responsible for the racial harassment.
People with information about the case are asked to call Spokane police Crime Check at 456-2233.
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