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Students painted their responses to the recent campus graffiti in Red Square on Monday as a part of the Day For Unity.

There have been at least eight instances of offensive graffiti or defacement of statues on and around campus in the past two weeks, and at least 12 this semester, with the most recent occurring this weekend.

The most recent graffiti was found on Saturday around 4:30 p.m. on an external white wood door on the 3500 block of P Street, on property owned by Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School. The acronym “USA,” with the “S” replaced by a swastika and a star to the right of the letters, was spray-painted with black paint using a stencil, about one foot long and four inches tall. The letters “Le” were also spray-painted in black on a brick wall a few yards from the “USA,” but it was unclear how long those two letters had been there.

DPS arrived on the scene around 5:15 p.m. and confirmed that this was one of several similar graffiti symbols they had seen in recent weeks both on and near campus.

Georgetown Visitation Dean Eve Grimaldi said the same graffiti had appeared in the same place about two weeks ago, but was painted over. The most recent graffiti at the school was painted over today.

The graffiti found at Visitation resembles that found outside Village A last week, Christina Ventura (SFS ’10), a Village A resident, said. Ventura said she discovered two sets of graffiti in the Village A mailroom early last week. One depicted the same “USA” and star graffiti above what appeared to be a Christian cross with the Schutzstaffel (SS) bolt symbol on the horizontal part of the cross. The “USA” was in black, the star was in red, and the cross was in silver.

The Department of Public Safety crime log contains a report of a “destruction of property” in Village A at 3:09 p.m. on March 23.

Ventura said that the graffiti was painted over on March 25, and that the next day, the Village A elevator, which connects with the mailroom, was tagged with the same “USA” and star stencil with the “s” replaced by what appeared to be a swastika, this time entirely in black.

The DPS crime log lists a destruction of property incident in Village A on the same date, Mar. 26, at 5:48 p.m.

Ventura took photos of both incidents, and the photos were obtained by THE HOYA.

Ventura added that another incident of graffiti occurred in a Village A elevator on or around Jan. 16. It was tagged with an apparent anarchy symbol and that it remained there for “weeks” before it was removed, she said.

Graffiti resembling a Christian cross with SS bolts was also found on an exterior wall near the entrance to the office wing of Darnall Hall on March 27, according to Ventura. The DPS crime log lists a destruction of property incident at Darnall on that date at 2:35 p.m., although it was unclear whether the log was referring to the graffiti. The graffiti on Darnall was still visible as of 8:10 p.m. today. Both crosses were silver and appeared to be spray-painted with a stencil.

As THE HOYA reported Friday, graffiti resembling a Christian cross with SS bolts was also found on an exterior wall of the Leavey Center on March 23, according to the DPS crime log, which listed the report at 6:08 p.m. The graffiti remained on the wall until at least 8 p.m. last Thursday night, but was gone by Friday at 10 a.m.

Faculty members who are experts in German and European studies and received photos of several incidences of graffiti from Ventura, said they are unsure of what is motivating the graffiti, but noted that there may be more than one group of vandals at work.

Associate Professor James Shedel of the history department, whose area of expertise includes Germany and Central Europe, said the symbols in the graffiti could refer to the Soviet Union as well as Nazi Germany.

“Obviously, the swastika symbol refers to Nazism, but the inclusion of the 5-pointed star at the end of the deformed version of `USA’ is usually associated with the Soviet Union and never with Nazi groups,” he said in an e-mail.

However, Jeffrey Anderson, director of the BMW Center for German and European Studies, said he was unfamiliar with the combination of symbols used in graffiti on campus.

He noted that Nazis and anarchists traditionally dislike each other strongly, so the presence of both symbols could indicate that more than one person is responsible for the graffiti.

“There might be a rhyme or reason for this, but we shouldn’t [assume so],” he said.

Anderson said that there has been a general uptick in right-wing activity in the past few months, and that this week’s G-20 summit in London was expected to draw large protests from anarchists, but cautioned against tying the Georgetown incidents to larger political movements.

Anderson said he was not aware of any trend of neo-Nazis or anarchists targeting religious symbols.

“It’s probably not anything to do with any outside group,” he said of the local incidents.

A newly-formed coalition of students from across campus, including members of the Black Student Alliance, GU Pride, the SCU and others, held a rally in Red Square at 12:55 p.m. today to protest what the coalition has termed a “hate crime.” The Day for Unity, as the event was called, featured short speeches from many campus group leaders, including representatives of the LGBTQ center and a few founding members of the coalition, regarding the recent instances of graffiti on campus.

“Hate is not acceptable on this campus. Swastikas are not acceptable on this campus,” one student shouted through a megaphone.

According to an e-mail from the group signed “Georgetown Students,” the point of the rally was both to publicly come out against the recent graffiti and unite Georgetown students in a more positive way.

“We might all have our differences at Georgetown, but none of us tolerate hate .  Join us, a Georgetown coalition of students, this Monday, March 30, for a Day for Unity, when the whole of Georgetown can come together in solidarity to counter this symbol of hate as a positive and all-inclusive community . This affects all of us – no tolerance for hate,” the coalition said in an e-mail.

These incidents follow three incidents in which statues on campus were defaced with paint. On Feb. 19, the face of the statue of the Blessed Mother was painted black. On Mar. 2, the statue of former professor and Nazi resister Jan Karski near White-Gravenor Hall was vandalized with paint and during the night of March 20 into the morning of March 21, the Mary statue was vandalized again, this time with red paint.

An anarchy symbol was also spray-painted on the wall of the tunnel under New North near the row of bollards sometime in the past few weeks, but DPS had no report of the incident.

DPS officials could not be reached for comment on the incidents.

No suspects have been identified in any of the incidents. According to university spokesperson Julie Bataille, the Metropolitan Police Department has been notified of the incidents.

PD Second District officials could not be reached for comment.

According to a university press release sent out regarding the incidences with the statue of the Blessed Mother and of Jan Karski, DPS has increased patrols around areas with religious significance and the university is treating the incidents very seriously.

“These incidents will be taken seriously as a violation of the student code of conduct if a member of the campus community is found to be responsible,” Bataille said in an e-mail.

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