The process of recovering Eastern Illinois University chemistry labs that were the target of vandalism over the Thanksgiving holiday continues.
The safety of students, faculty and staff, continues to be the top priority in the process of returning the labs to operational status, and the labs remain closed to the public. Cleanup is being handled by chemistry faculty and EIU facilities employees who are trained in the handling of hazardous materials.
Doors to the affected laboratories and to the building have been re-keyed. The University Police Department, which is conducting the investigation into the vandalism, has increased patrolling of the interior and perimeter of the building.
The damage to laboratory equipment was considerable and is still being assessed by university faculty and administrators. Preliminary estimates indicate that the value of the damaged equipment exceeds $100,000, according to William Weber, vice president for business affairs at the university.
In addition, some chemical samples and other materials from faculty and student research projects were ruined during the vandalism. The materials represent months, and in some cases years, of research work by faculty and students.
The university is in the process of filing an insurance claim for the damage. The process of inventorying and storing damaged equipment continues, and insurance claim adjusters are expected to be on campus to review the damages within a week.
Anybody with any information that may assist law enforcement is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-866-345-8488, text "crimeleads" to 274637, or call the EIU Police Department at 217-581-3212.