Photo courtesy of the DuPage County Sheriff's Inmate Reference Information System
Myles Burton, former member of Elmhurst College’s men’s basketball team, was arrested for a hate crime committed on Dec 7. Although Burton was released Jan. 23 after posting a $15,000 bond, the case remains unresolved. Burton, with fellow teammates Samuel Ficker and Michael McCurdy, allegedly scratched the words “KKK,” “Negro,” and “I hate black people” into a windowsill on Stanger Hall.
Committing a hate crime on or near school property is a class 3 felony with a sentence of up to five years in prison, according to Campus Security.
Ficker and McCurdy face misdemeanor charges for their alleged presence during the incident. Both are suspended from the men’s basketball team indefinitely, according to head coach Mark Scherer.
“The loss of Sam and Mike was disappointing to both players and coaches on our team. However, I am so proud of how our team has rallied together to work hard and support each other, on and off the court,” said Scherer in an email. On Dec. 12, the Black Student Union (BSU) held a rally in the Founders Lounge where students and faculty shared concerns and reactions to the hate crime.
“Sometimes when we think of hate, we think of the extremes of it,” said Education professor Ayanna Brown, “but there are other forms of hate that are more powerful and damaging. It is our responsibility to refract [ignorance], to resist it and show it for what it is. That does not happen with silence, and that does not happen with passivism. And, even if you feel alone, sometimes being alone is just fucking fine.”
Director of Campus Security Jeff Kedrowski said that it is not uncommon for Campus Security to find the offender of a case after talking to witnesses and checking over evidence and documentation. “Our records for solving serious incidents over the past three years are not bad,” said Kedrowski.
BSU president, Evan Cunningham, agrees that the college has been doing better with hate crimes, but he believes there is still room for improvement. “They should be targeting, ‘Where is this hate coming from?’ They need to open up more avenues for diversity and understanding,” said Cunningham.
An additional hate crime which read “kill white people” was written on a Stranger chalkboard Jan. 9, according to Campus Security.
Although Kedrowski stresses the severity of all hate crimes, he noted that “some took the latest message, especially in combination with other things written on the board, to be more humorous than threatening.”
Burton has appeared in court Jan. 9 and Jan. 23. He faces charges of up to $25,000 and five years in jail.
His next court date is set for Feb. 7 at 8:30 a.m. at the DuPage County Courthouse.
Correction: February 9, 2012
An article in the Feb. 7 issue of The Leader stated that Burton was still being held in the DuPage County Jail, however, Burton posted bail on Jan. 23. The Leader regrets this error.