Restroom graffiti targeting blacks, women, gay men and women and people of the Jewish and Muslim faith was discovered at Wright State University twice in the last two weeks.
The graffiti was scrawled on stalls in campus restrooms and was promptly removed, WSU chief diversity officer Matt Boaz said in an email to campus on Tuesday night.
The graffiti contained racial slurs and anti-gay slurs along with phrases such as “Islam is terrorism,” “Liberals hate America,” “Date rape doesn’t exist” “Black lives don’t matter here,” “Jews go home,” among other things, images of the graffiti show.
The graffiti also referred to women as property and praised President Donald Trump while referring to his 2016 campaign slogan, Make America Great Again or “MAGA.”
“It’s a very serious situation because a lot of times, no matter what the intent of the activity was, we focus on the impact of the activity,” Boaz said. “The impact is people don’t feel as safe as they should be, they don’t feel that the campus community is as inclusive as it should be when things like this happen. So, we take it very seriously. We don’t want that to be the only voice that’s heard.”
The graffiti was written in restroom stalls in Wright State’s Medical Sciences Building and Oelman Hall. The graffiti appears to have been written in some sort of erasable marker rather than a permanent one, said spokesman Seth Bauguess.
The graffiti prompted Boaz to send out a campus-wide email Tuesday evening to warn students of the graffiti.
“This behavior is not reflective of our values as a community. Messages of hate will never be acceptable at Wright State. Moreover, damage to university property of any kind is also not acceptable,” Boaz wrote in the Tuesday campus-wide email.
Wright State police have not been able to locate some of the graffiti, of which images are circulating online, but they are encouraging anyone to report graffiti to police, according to the email.
Vandalism is against Wright State’s student code of conduct and anyone caught committing an act of vandalism “will be held accountable to the fullest extent possible,” the email stated.
When something like the graffiti incident occurs, it feels like a “setback” for the university,” Boaz said. Though Boaz said Wright State has long tried to make campus an inclusive place, the graffiti was not the only racially-charge incident to have occurred on campus in the last few years.
A little more than a year ago a rock on campus was painted by students to say “Black Lives Matter.” Shortly after, the word “black” was changed to “white” and later to “all,” causing some controversy.
Since then, Wright State erected a rules sign in front of the rock and more recently, president Cheryl Schrader sent a campus email encouraging students to report hate speech on campus.
“Acts of racism, anti-Semitism, violence, and hatred continue to exist in our country. Let me be clear: Hateful actions and speech are not welcome at Wright State University,” Schrader said in August.
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