UI Housing & Dining reports incident of racist graffiti in residence halls

The UI Police are investigating an incident of racist graffiti that was reported in a residence hall on Sunday.

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UI Housing & Dining reports incident of racist graffiti in residence halls

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Joe Cress

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Joe Cress

Joe Cress

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University of Iowa Housing & Dining staff reported recent incidents of racist graffiti in campus residence halls.

According to an email from Housing & Dining addressed to the Catlett and Hillcrest residence hall communities, the UI police were notified of the incidents on Sunday and an investigation is underway. Separate incidents occurred in the affected residence halls.

Hayley Bruce, a spokesperson for the Public-Safety Department, said there was no additional information to provide at the time of publication.

If responsible individuals are identified, the email said, “appropriate actions will be taken.”

“Hate speech does not reflect the values of our institution and will not be tolerated,” the email said. “We are a caring community that values compassion, inclusion, respect, and dignity.”

The incident took place days after what is being referred to as a white nationalist protest on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Supporters of the far-right gathered for a “Unite the Right” rally wielding Confederate battle flags, swastikas, anti-Semitic banners, and other items to protest the city’s plans to remove a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

A man was arrested Aug. 19 for allegedly killing one woman after he rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters. Two state troopers were also killed in a helicopter crash.

Similar incidents occurred during the 2016-17 academic year in which fliers featuring racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic messages were posted around the UI cultural and resource centers, as well as an unnamed residence hall.

RELATED: ‘Hateful’ fliers disturb UI community

The Housing & Dining email voiced a commitment to refusing to “expand [the protesters’] platform.”

“As we respond to this despicable and cowardly act, we recognize that recent national events may motivate individuals to attempt to undermine our commitment to fostering an inclusive community,” the email said.

UI President Bruce Harreld iterated the UI’s message that students are welcome on campus in a statement on Aug. 17 in light of the violence at the rally, which took place “on a university campus not unlike our own,” Harreld said.

“… It is incumbent upon us to reach out to those who are new to our community,” he said. “To tell them we denounce the KKK, white supremacists, and neo-Nazi groups who use public universities as a backdrop for their violent theater. To assure them that we will not be bullied into silence or turned against one another. To pledge once again that we will not tolerate anything but a safe and inclusive campus for people of all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or country of origin.”

Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton condemned President Trump’s placement of blame on “many sides” of the protest and said that “to protest against racism is not morally equivalent to armed efforts at intimidation.”

“On behalf of the people of Iowa City, I say we reject neo-Nazis who seek to intimidate others and promulgate their hate-filled ideology,” Throgmorton said. “Their white supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist beliefs and actions are completely antithetical to our belief in the value of living in a diverse and inclusive community.”