Just after 9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1, a “timely warning” notice was sent out to the Millersville University community outlining that a hate crime had been committed in Gordinier Hall. The words “I hate Jews” were written on a bathroom partition by an unknown person.
This incident is being classified as a hate crime “based upon the wording and damage to University property,” according to the University Police. Chief of Police Pete Anders said in a statement that through the Clery Act, hate crimes are more broadly defined, and don’t have to include bodily harm. He said that the Department of Education defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim.” Acts of simple assault, intimidation, or the destruction, damage or vandalism of property can be defined as a hate crime under the Clery Act.
Anders determined that these words could “reasonably cause fear in our community in light of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre last weekend.” He said that the timely warning was sent out with the recent massacre in consideration, but that he wanted to reassure the Jewish Millersville community specifically. “I felt issuing the timely warning would provide notice to our community that Millersville University will not tolerate any discrimination.”
The notice also mentioned that it was reported that a swastika was graffitied inside of a men’s bathroom in McNairy Library on Oct. 23. This incident was not reported in a similar way to the first because each notice it determined on a “case by case basis,” according to Anders. He mentioned that a notice was sent out for the Nov. 1 incident because they “evaluate if there is a continuation of a similar threat when making a warning or notice to campus.”
Both incidents are being investigated by the University Police along with the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the Title IX Office. Anders said that they are reviewing the building cameras for any information.
In addition, on Friday, Nov. 2, another incident was reported, being described as “derogatory race-related graffiti against black people.” These messages were written in a men’s designated bathroom in the Student Memorial Center. Another timely warning notice was sent out about this incident as an update to the first from only the day prior.
Anders said that he believes these incidents are a “product of one or two cowardly, small individuals,” and that their actions do not reflect Millersville University students or faculty. “[A]s the police chief and a Marauder I feel it is important to shine a light on the few negatives when they occur on campus.”