Bowdoin College officials have condemned the homophobic and racist graffiti discovered on a white board inside a campus building, believed to have been left there between midnight and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The vandals drew male genitalia, a swastika, and profanity that included the word “KKK,” then the names of two individuals and homophobic language, and knocked over several chairs, according to campus officials.

“Let me be clear: hate-based expression and infantile acts like this have no place at Bowdoin. Whether perpetrated with malice or out of stupidity, we will simply not tolerate or ignore symbols of hatred, racist and offensive drawings or language, or acts of violence,” Dean of Student Affairs Tim Foster wrote in an email to the campus community Thursday.

Foster said campus security interviewed people in the building, pinning down the likely time when the vandalism occurred. Campus security was reviewing card swipe information and videotape footage and working with local police.

The Visual Arts Center is an academic building with offices and the Kresge auditorium, but no overnight residents. It is located on the main quad area near Maine Street.

Anyone with information is asked to notify officials, Foster said.


“We may not be able to prevent all acts of bigotry and belligerence, but we can and must report incidents like this when they happen,” Foster wrote. “In doing so, we denounce intolerance and violence, and we challenge everyone in our community to reflect on what each of us can do to prevent them from happening in the future.”

Campus spokesman Doug Cook said Friday that Bowdoin takes such incidents seriously and tracks them, but would not release any details of the investigation.

Nationwide, incidences of hate speech on college campuses are up, according to Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League.

Greenblatt told the New York Times that his organization catalogued 115 incidents of white supremacist propaganda on American campuses between January and April, up from nine during the same four months in 2016.

Bowdoin reported no hate crime or bias-related graffiti last year, according to an annual crime on campus report required by the federal government, known as the Clery Report.

Last year, two incidents of anti-Muslim graffiti at the University of Southern Maine sparked protests by students and were condemned by officials. One incident was resolved through the university code of conduct process but the outcome was not revealed because of student privacy laws.

Noel K. Gallagher can be reached at 791-6387 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: noelinmaine

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