BOWIE – Last night, Bowie State University’s students held a rally in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. building on campus where an unknown suspect illustrated two swastika symbols earlier in the day. “Today we discovered that one of the columns on the patio of the Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Arts Center had […]
BOWIE – Last night, Bowie State University’s students held a rally in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. building on campus where an unknown suspect illustrated two swastika symbols earlier in the day.
“Today we discovered that one of the columns on the patio of the Martin Luther King Jr. Communication Arts Center had been defaced with graffiti that appeared to resemble a swastika symbol,” Bowie State staff said in a statement. “As is the case with all graffiti on campus, it was photographed by our campus police and immediately removed by our facilities staff. This imagery symbolizes deep racial hatred and discrimination that go against the core values of Bowie State University.”
The university said the school was founded on values of “diversity, civility, vigorous debate and scholarly discussions,” and imagery of hatred “will not be tolerated.”
“We do not tolerate hate speech among students, faculty or staff. We support those students who have decided to rally in opposition to hate speech,” the statement said.
At the rally, many of the students spoke about not being afraid and how the recent events “woke them up.” The students were upset that someone vandalized their beloved university where they “sleep, eat and go to school, a university with 150 years of rich history.” The students were angered by the occurrence and feel the issue needs to be dealt with immediately.
Bowie State’s senior class president, Dawaine Cosey, helped organize the rally and said it felt amazing to see all of the students gather together at the last minute to show support. Cosey saw the much larger swastika symbol while it was still located on the column and said he was one of many students who begged the university’s administration not to remove the symbol.
“When I first saw the symbol what I felt wasn’t a feeling of fear and I wasn’t shocked because it’s the climate in which we live in. This isn’t something that’s happening hundreds and hundreds of miles away to other people, this happened on our doorstep,” he said. “I understand that they needed to take it down, its something they have to do but I am disappointed that they did.”
Bowie State University student Elijah Vines said, at the rally, he thinks the swastika symbol being placed in front of one of the main buildings on campus was a way to disrupt the university’s energy.
“It took some type of a devilish artwork to wake us up,” Vines said.
Vines said the symbols did wake up the community, but he said, he hopes it also brought them together.
“I think there was so many symbols drawn because one, there was no one was here to witness them do it. Two, the message is twice as harder to send if its just one, and three, in an attempt to destroy a whole community you have to make many efforts to do so,” Vines said. “I pray the students took away a level of consciousness from this rally that will allow them to come together even more and I hope it brings awareness within their minds that we are being targeted.”
Bowie State University campus police in collaboration with Prince George’s County Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.