University mum on ‘recent, distressing’ incident

University officials acknowledged Friday that an incident involving racist or religious discrimination occurred on campus recently, but refused to provide more information.

Details could not be disclosed because the incident is still being vetted, said Brian Kenny, vice president for marketing and communications.

“It was not a physical assault or act of violence,” Kenny said. “There is an ongoing investigation.”

A letter from President Joseph Aoun posted Thursday night to myNEU described a “recent, distressing incident” on campus that gave the president cause to state his “abhorrence of racism and religious intolerance,” but did not give specific details of the incident.

“The incident on campus that I referenced runs counter to all that I have discussed here,” the letter said. “I hope that this was not action taken by students, faculty or staff, nonetheless, it did occur in our community.”

Calls to Aoun’s office Friday afternoon seeking comment were returned by Kenny.

Kenny said the letter was inspired by Aoun’s desire to raise the issue in the community.

“I think it’s the kind of thing that you do have to bring to people’s conciousness,” he said. “He obviously feels pretty strongly about it.”

The Office of Affirmative Action and Diversity is planning events in response and will provide more details as they emerge, said Dean of Affirmative Action and Diversity Donnie Perkins.

Perkins said any students with concerns should contact his office at 617-373-2133.

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