Viterbo official says fourth hate-related incident ‘does not represent Viterbo’

Viterbo University investigates hate-related message targeted toward LGBTQA student on campus
Viterbo Hate Incident

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Viterbo University launched another investigation after officials found a fourth hate-related message on campus this semester.

March 21st early Sunday morning added another grim weekend for Viterbo University. Officials found the message on a student’s dorm room door.

“Someone wrote a hate-filled threatening message on the door of one of our students,” executive vice president of student success Rick Trietley said.

The message targeted the student’s LGBTQA identity and their place on campus. Trietley wouldn’t release the message due to the wishes of the student and to maintain the integrity of the university’s investigation.

This message marks the fourth hate-related incident on Viterbo’s campus this semester. Trietley said he does not believe the incidents are connected.

“We believe that this particular incident, though terrible and heinous in many ways, does not represent Viterbo,” Trietley said.

A freshman at the University found a pair of racist messages on her door a couple of weeks ago. She spoke at a student rally on March 11.

“It’s really scary to wake up in the morning, open your door, and there’s a writing of hate on your door,” the student said to community members on March 11.

Viterbo is a private institution connected with the Catholic Church. The Vatican declared earlier this month that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions since God “cannot bless sin.” However, Trietley said Viterbo welcomes everyone on its campus.

“The Catholic Church may have certain teachings and doctrine related to the LGBTQA community, but here at Viterbo our goal is to celebrate the gifts and talents of all our students,” he said.

Trietley said the campus community can do better.

“No question,” Trietley said. In my personal opinion are the acts of a few.”

Security cameras don’t exist on student living floors. Preserving privacy is the main reason, but the university may be forced to change. There’s a gray area for university decision-makers.

“Do you lean more towards student privacy, or do you lean more towards ensuring that safe and secure environment?” Trietley said.

Viterbo University officials say they are having conversations with the student government to find a middle ground between student privacy and student safety.