University of Maryland police are investigating after a swastika and anti-LGBTQ comments were found scrawled on whiteboards in two separate dorms this week.
Around 3:40 p.m., school police responded to Queen Anne's Hall where a student had reported "that anti-LGBTQ comments were found on a couple of whiteboards and verbal anti-LGBTQ statements were overheard the following night," the University of Maryland police said in a statement Wednesday. Those incidents took place between Thursday, Aug. 30 and Friday, Sept. 1, according to university police.
Then at about 8 p.m. Sunday, school police responded to La Plata Hall after it was reported that a swastika had been drawn on a whiteboard. That incident occurred Sunday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., university police said.
University police said they are now conducting interviews, reviewing security cameras and assessing the school's card swipe access system as part of their investigation.
"The University of Maryland Police Department takes these matters very seriously," Sgt. Rosanne Hoaas, a UMD police spokeswoman, said in the statement. "As our investigations continue, we call on our community for their help."
The University of Maryland also released a statement condemning the incidents.
"Over the weekend, anti-LGBT language was reportedly used on campus, and a swastika was drawn on a whiteboard. These behaviors do not reflect the values of the University of Maryland," the statement read. "These types of hateful incidents undermine our dedicated work to foster a safe, inclusive campus. The University of Maryland Police Department has assigned detectives to investigate each incident, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Department of Resident Life, the LGBT Equity Center, and the Counseling Center are offering support and resources."
"The University of Maryland is among the first universities in the country to hire a program manager specifically assigned to leading hate-bias response. This is to ensure that resources are coordinated, and most importantly, individuals who feel threatened by a hate-bias incident receive outreach and support," the university added."
Shige Sakurai, acting director of the university's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Equity Center, said they plan to speak with students at the dorm where one of the incidents occurred.
"This afternoon, the LGBT Equity Center is hosting a community gathering for campus constituents, in collaboration with the Program Manager for Hate-Bias Response. The gathering will provide space for students and campus community to decompress, get resources and support, and discuss possible additional needs and community responses," Sakurai said in a statement.
"Tonight, I will also speak with residents in Queen Anne's Hall to offer the supports of the LGBT Equity Center. We must remain vigilant and take care of our LGBTQ+ communities," Sakurai added.
Anyone with information about the incidents is urged to call the university police at 301-405-3555.