COLLEGE PARK (WJZ) — University of Maryland police are investigating two “hate bias” incidents, both reported September 2.
At around 8:07 p.m., UMD police responded to La Plata Hall for a swastika that was drawn onto a whiteboard.
The incident happened between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on September 2.
“Honestly, I’m disgusted that something like that would ever happen here because we’re such a melting pot of different people,” said freshman Fiona Palumbo
Palumbo lives in La Plata Hall.
Police found the swastika drawn on a whiteboard inside Palumbo’s building.
“I thought it was the most accepting place ever and there’s so many different types of people,” Palumbo said.
The second “hate-biased” incident was reported around 3:40 p.m. September 2, where UMPD responded to Queen Anne’s Hall for a hate bias incident that occurred between August 30 and September 1.
A student reported to police that anti-LGTBQ comments were found on a couple of whiteboards and verbal anti-LGBTQ statements were reportedly heard the following night.
Students believe the comments may not have been directed at anyone, but still do not condone the behavior.
“I don’t think the person wrote it in like a demeaning way, think maybe to try and be funny, but obviously that’s not funny,” said freshman Camila Hozdevila.
This is not the first time the university has been in the spotlight. Similar incidents occurred last year, including a hate crime that resulted in death.
Former UMD student Sean Urbanski was charged with a hate crime and the murder of Bowie State University student army second lieutenant Richard Collins III.
Authorities said Urbanski, who investigators found had ties to a white supremacist group called Alt-Reich Nation stabbed Collins at a bus stop.
Back in April 2017, a noose was found hanging inside a Phi Kappa Tau fraternity house, and before white supremacist flyers were posted around campus.
In an op-ed piece written by the university’s chief diversity officer, she wrote in part, “It is important that our community acknowledge these incidents as they happen and make clear they do not reflect the values of our institution,”
In both incidents, a detective was assigned and witness interviews were conducted along with follow-up interviews. Video reviews of the cameras in the area of both locations are underway along with a review of the card swipe access system.
Both cases are being actively investigated.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact UMPD at 301-405-3555.
People can also give tips anonymously by emailing http://www.umpd.umd.edu/contact/anonymous_tip.cfm
“The University of Maryland Police Department takes these matters very seriously. As our investigations continue, we call on our community for their help. If you have any information, please contact us. We want to hear from you.” said Sgt. Rosanne Hoaas, a spokesperson for UMPD.