Hate symbols found in residence hall

Photo by Trinh Tran

Photo by Trinh Tran

A swastika. A phallic image. Some degrading language against the LGBTQ+ community. All these symbols were found in a residence hall stairwell.

On Oct. 25, resident advisors of Griggs EF found the symbols on the wall in the stairwell around 7 p.m. The symbols were believed to be drawn in dry erase marker because of a marker found near the vandalism.

“I would call it hate speech,” Jeremy Leiferman, the director of Housing and Residence Life, said.

The images were “fairly small,” as described by Leiferman, but caused a larger statement.

A day later, on Oct. 26 at 4:31 p.m., an email was sent out to students living on campus informing them that “the images have been removed.” Since the images were done in marker, they were easy to remove, as repeated by Leiferman.

“We want students to know it occurred,” Leiferman said. He explained that the housing department believes it is important to communicate incidents such as this and to keep students informed.

Griggs EF staircase where the image was found. Photo by Trinh Tran

Griggs EF staircase where the image was found. Photo by Trinh Tran

Students living off campus did not receive the email. As Leiferman describes, due to proximity, only on-campus students were informed they had an increased priority to know the incident occurred.

Leiferman, who wrote the email, emphasized that such actions are not consistent with the values of UMD. He explained actions such as these go against the values of the university and threaten the safety of students.

Due to lack of cameras in the stairwell, the culprit has yet to be found. The police are completing an investigation.

“Our office is looking into any potential leads involving the graffiti in Griggs,” Sgt. Chris Shovein with UMDPD said.

At this point, there was “no additional information” he was able to give.

The incident occurred while students were on fall break, which makes finding the culprit more difficult, according to Leiferman.

Students are encouraged to reach out to residence advisors or directors if feelings of discomfort arise.

“We are committed to helping our community heal from these disappointing actions,” Leiferman wrote in the email.

Throughout Leiferman’s five years at UMD, he has only encountered one other situation such as this one. About two or three years ago someone, unknown if it was a student, vandalized the inside of an elevator with a degrading word.

NewsSkylar Neuber