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Hate speech vandalism occurs near Ohio State campus

Chelsea Castle / Managing editor

Two acts of vandalism Ohio State Police labeled hate crimes were discovered Monday – one in a university dorm and the other across from the Ohio Union.

The first incident involved racial and religious slurs, written on a door in Baker Hall East. The word “n—–s” and a swastika were written with permanent marker on a message board hanging on a dorm room door, said OSU Deputy Police Chief Richard Morman. Two females, one Caucasian and one African-American, live in said room, Morman said.

The police report for the incident listed it as an “anti-Black” hate crime and the motive as “menace.”

The second occurred off-campus, when a dumpster across from the Ohio Union was covered in red spray paint that read, “hang n—–s.” The dumpster is located behind Formaggio Pizza, at 20 E. 13th Ave.

Dilnavaz Cama, a department manager from OSU neighborhood services and collaboration, was dispatched to cover up the spray paint on the dumpster until it could be permanently removed.

Cama said the dumpster is property of Republic Services, Inc., and she was told someone would be sent out to permanently remove the vandalism.


Republic Services, Inc., had no immediate contact as of Monday afternoon. Sam Michael, manager of Formaggio Pizza, said he did not know anything about the vandalism on the dumpster outside of his restaurant.

University Police sent out a public safety email Monday afternoon to alert OSU community members to take precautions and actions to increase safety and to aid in the prevention of similar crimes.

In an official statement to The Lantern, Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president of Student Life, said she is horrified by the incidents.

“I am appalled by these continued acts of hate. We are working with University Police, acting swiftly, diligently investigating, and will take the appropriate action,” Adams-Gaston said in the statement.

The hate crimes occurred less than a week after a task force was formed in response to other recent acts of vandalism on campus that officials declared as hate crimes. Adams-Gaston and Valerie Lee, vice provost for Diversity and Inclusion, head the task force.

“Dr. Lee and I have repeatedly said, there is no place for hate at Ohio State, and that includes our off-campus community,” Adams-Gaston said in the statement. “We have temporarily covered the offensive graffiti and are working with property owners to permanently remove it.”

President E. Gordon Gee tweeted from his account about the incident on 13th Avenue.

“Angered to learn of hate speech spray-painted across High Street from Union. This is not our University. #OSUStandYourGround #inclusion,” the tweet read.

Columbus Police Sgt. Rich Weiner said they are investigating these incidents and had no further information as of Monday. Morman said the investigation of both incidents is ongoing.

Joe Rowe, a manager at Subway a few doors down from Formaggio Pizza, related the act to the vandalism that occurred at Hale Hall on April 5.

“I know that thing (the Hale Hall vandalism) a few weeks ago pretty much was disgusting … I think my degree’s worth a little less,” said Rowe, who graduated from OSU in 2009 with a degree in strategic communication.

“Long Live Zimmerman” was spray-painted April 5 on the west walls of Hale Hall, which is home to the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center, part of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The reference, officials said, is most likely to George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader who allegedly killed Trayvon Martin in self-defense Feb. 26 in Florida.

Barry Dean, an employee at The Import House next to Subway, said he thought the vandalism might be related to the case involving Zimmerman.

“I think it’s childish and it’s horrible and it needs to stop happening,” Dean said. “It’s not shocking.”

Valerie Henault, a first-year in pre-nursing, said she was upset to learn about another form of hate speech happening on campus.

“Ohio State is supposed to be open,” she said. “People should be accepted here, people shouldn’t be hated or discriminated against.”

Ally Marotti contributed to this story.


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