WMPD investigates graffiti

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The WMPD has launched an investigation into graffiti referencing slave labor found in freshman residence halls. COURTESY PHOTO

Friday, Aug. 24, and Monday, Aug. 27, the College of William and Mary’s Police Department opened an investigation into graffiti found in two freshman residence halls. 

The graffiti, referencing both the College’s slave-owning history and the College’s relationship with Virginia Correctional Enterprises, a program that supplies furniture and other materials produced by inmates in Virginia prisons, was found in Yates Hall and in front of Gooch Hall. 

Graffiti messages found Aug. 24 and Aug. 27 included the statements: “Still built by slaves,” “Slaves built ur bed” and “Still uses slave labor.” New students moved in Aug. 24. 

According to College Spokesperson Suzanne Clavet, the graffiti has been cleaned up, but the incident remains under investigation. 

The messages were found days before the College launched a competition to solicit ideas for a memorial to the African Americans enslaved by the university. This memorial is one of many initiatives discussed as a result of former College President Taylor Reveley’s Task Force on Race and Race Relations. 

“As an institution, we encourage and welcome open and honest conversations about difficult topics,” Clavet said in a press statement. “This includes both understanding and acknowledging W&M’s complicated past and addressing candidly concerns related to slavery, social justice issues or current events. But damage to our destruction of property, particularly graffiti on our buildings, is not an acceptable form of expression.”