Police at the University of California, Davis are investigating a string of recent vandalism incidents as a possible hate crime. Late last Sunday night or early the following morning, an unknown person smashed car windshields, shattered campus windows, and wrote a racial epithet on a chalkboard.
“Broken windows, broken buildings we can fix those. Hurtful speech in our community has a lasting, longer effect,” UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael told KCRA-TV.
The racial epithet was written in Dutton Hall, which houses the financial aid, student judicial affairs, transfers, and veterans centers. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi issued a statement this week:
“No act of hate will be tolerated at UC Davis. I am incensed, and at the same time heartbroken, that this occurred this week in particular–a week where we acknowledge one of the greatest moments in American civil rights history.”
That the alleged hate crime occurred in a week celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is an awful irony, given that the campus’s law school, King Hall, is named for the slain civil rights leader.
A similar rash of hate-related vandalism occurred in 2010, when swastikas were found on campus grounds and buildings housing lesbian and gay organizations were vandalized. The perpetrators were never identified.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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