Minority Student Charged with Hate Crime at Trinity University

Confusion follows fear after minority students return to campus.

Chicago native Alicia Hardin, 19, an African American woman, was charged with a hate crime and disorderly conduct after confessing to sending three letters that contained racial slurs and threats against minority students at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.

About 300 minority students had been evacuated from the campus last week after officials learned of the threats. The school enrolls about 1,000 undergraduates and more than 2,000 graduate students. Minorities make up about 26 percent of the student body.

Students were evacuated after school officials determined that their safety was at risk. One letter said the writer had seen the student in chapel. "I had my gun in my pocket but I wouldn't shoot," the letter ended. Students returned to campus for classes Monday, and Hardin confessed that night. Tuesday, police released her on $5,000 bond.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Hardin didn't want to attend Trinity. She was hoping to convince her parents that the school was too dangerous for her to stay. The Tribune writes:

Hardin was among more than two dozen students interviewed by police and the FBI, authorities said Tuesday at a news conference in Bannockburn Village Hall. When called in for a second interview, she confessed in a written statement, Lt. Ron Price said.
"The reason she gave for the deception was that she was unhappy at Trinity International University, but her parents wanted her to remain at Trinity," Price said.

Hardin yesterday sent a message to a classmate saying she had done no wrong and had been forced to confess, the Tribune reports.

Greg Waybright, president of Trinity, said, "This is an agonizing moment for Trinity, one that is unprecedented for our university. We are heartbroken ...

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