An investigation is underway after “vile and hateful graffiti” was discovered in the men’s restroom of the humanities building at Santa Barbara City College last week.
Interim President Dr. Helen Benjamin issued a statement to the campus last week, which said the graffiti was “meant to degrade African-Americans.” The statement did not disclose the contents of the graffiti.
“This act sadly demonstrates that our campus is not immune to the unrest experienced nationally on college and university campuses,” the statement read. “Although the graffiti was quickly removed, it prompted us to clearly state that our college does not tolerate hate crimes or the defacing of public property.”
The Santa Barbara Police Department is investigating the incident, Anthony Wagner, police spokesman, confirmed to the News-Press.
Mr. Wagner did not elaborate on the nature of the investigation.
“It’s premature to classify or try to characterize the activity, but I can say that the investigation is ongoing,” Mr. Wagner said.
In the statement issued to students, Dr. Benjamin said the “college is very proud of the rich diversity of our students and employees.”
There has been increased assistance from community safety officers on campus and college leadership met last week to discuss “immediate and longer-range strategies to address conditions that might encourage people to express hate and act in unlawful ways,” the statement read.
“This act affects each of us – as well as our broader community – and it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to prevent a recurrence to address the underlying issues that lead to actions like this,” Dr. Benjamin said.
Students are urged to report any discriminatory activities to campus security by calling 805-730-4064.
The local nonprofit Showing Up for Racial Justice Santa Barbara issued a statement on Facebook about the incident.
The person responsible “demonstrates the emboldening of racist ideology at Santa Barbara City College, which we believe has worsened due to the inaction of specific members of the SBCC Board of Trustees.
“We as a group stand in solidarity with the black students, faculty, and staff at Santa Barbara City College, and we unwaveringly support whatever needs, desires, and demands they have at this time,” the statement read.
Trustee Jonathan Abboud also posted on Facebook about the incident, writing: “We can’t tolerate this at all and we need to be supportive of those affected by it.
“I’m still saddened that our board did not vote on an anti-racism resolution earlier this year that would’ve made it abundantly clear from the top down where our college stands.”