ABILENE, Texas - Five men identified as being involved in placing fake parking tickets containing offensive messages on cars at Abilene Christian University are enrolled at Hardin-Simmons University.
That's according to a statement from HSU President Lanny Hall included in a news release issued late Tuesday afternoon.
"These shameful actions do not reflect the values, attitudes or character of Hardin-Simmons University," Hall said. "On behalf of HSU, I strongly denounce these actions and wholly reject both the racism expressed in the offensive messages and their sexually offensive nature."
Hall met with KTXS to express his feelings when he found out that his university was involved in the case.
"I didn't know and was shocked and appalled when I found out yesterday (Monday) afternoon," Hall said, noting he spoke with ACU President Phil Schubert and "he revealed what his police found out."
"I can't begin to tell you how disappointed, how frustrated, disgusted I am with the behavior of these five students," Hall said.
According to the HSU news release, the suspects' actions will be "immediately investigated through the HSU Office of Student Life and, as appropriate, disciplinary actions addressed through the university's student misconduct process."
The suspects' names will not be released at this time, pending the ACU police investigation.
"Our hearts go out to the victims and to students, faculty, staff, and administration in the ACU community for the hurt and pain caused by these messages," Hall said.
For information on HSU's harassment policy, here's a link to the HSU Student Handbook.
Abilene Christian University police have identified five people as being involved in the placement of fake parking tickets containing racist and sexually explicit messages on student vehicles, the university said Tuesday.
Names of those allegedly involved – said to be five white males – will only be released if charges are filed.
"The individuals we have identified as being behind the March 18 incidents are not ACU students nor do they have a connection to the university," ACU spokesman Grant Rampy said in an email.
Leaders of the university's Black Students' Association have expressed disappointment with the university's handling of the situation since the fake parking tickets were found on student vehicles. Numerous other students have also expressed concern.
ACU held a late Tuesday morning news conference for reporters to meet with Jimmy Ellison, the university's police chief.
Ellison said ACU officials have consulted with prosecutors about potential harassment charges against the five white males who have been banned from campus. According to Ellison, at least 14 messages were left on vehicles, including at least two considered racially offensive.
According to Ellison, it would be up to "individual victims" to decide if "they wish for us to proceed with their case individually with criminal charges."
Meanwhile, Schubert thanked ACU police "for the many hours it dedicated to investigating and resolving this matter in a thorough and professional."
According to Schubert, Ellison will "continue the investigation, consult with individual victims and proceed with any applicable criminal charges."
Schubert said he has personally met with many concerned students about the March 18 incidents.
"It's my sense that ACU will be a stronger university as a result of this experience," Schubert said. "We are committed to continuing the valuable conversations that have taken place in recent days."
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