Graffiti found on Swem entranceway, prompting WMPD investigation

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COURTESY PHOTO / LACY MCLAIN

The entrance to Earl Gregg Swem Library was spray-painted with graffiti at some point before the morning of Monday, Oct. 5. Three phrases were painted on the walls adjacent to the library’s entry steps, and included “liberalism is white supremacy,” “F12” and “ACAB.” The latter two phrases likely allude to ‘f— the police’ and ‘all cops are bastards’ respectively.

According to College of William and Mary spokesperson Erin Zagursky, WMPD received a report about the graffiti at 9:30 a.m. The incident is now under preliminary investigation, which will be conducted by the responding officer until the case is assigned to alternative personnel within the department.

Lacy McLain ‘23 first saw the graffiti during her Monday morning coffee run and was initially surprised by its presence on campus. She then posted it on a popular Facebook group associated with the College, where it garnered more than 100 reactions within three hours.

“I guess it shocked me at first, you don’t see a lot of graffiti in Williamsburg and I don’t know I guess I just wasn’t expecting to see it on my morning coffee run, even more so on the walls of the library,” McLain said in a statement. “But I posted to overheard because I figured people should see it.”

At this stage of the preliminary investigation, it is unclear who is responsible for the spray painting and there is insufficient knowledge about potential motives. When asked how the College will proceed with investigating the incident, Zagursky declined to comment whether security footage would be used to determine the culprit or when the spray painting occurred.

“This incident is under investigation, and WMPD is using all resources available to them,” Zagursky said in an email. “For security reasons, we cannot discuss the locations of specific cameras on campus.”

The graffiti was washed off around 11:30 a.m, though College spokesperson Erin Zagurksy said that additional materials were needed to fully remove stains. ETHAN BROWN / THE FLAT HAT

At around 11:30 a.m, a Facilities Management worker was dispatched to Swem to wash off the graffiti, suggesting that it was visible to students, staff and community members for around two hours after the initial report was filed. In a follow up email, Zagursky said that the College has found a contractor who has additional materials to complete the stain removal process by the end of the day.

In her statement, Zagursky also expressed the College’s disapproval of vandalism as a means of protest. The university’s standpoint mirrors the university’s response to a similar incident three years ago, when an unknown culprit spray painted ‘rapist’ and ‘rape’ on several on-campus fraternity buildings.

“Defacement of university buildings or destruction of property is never an acceptable form of expression,” Zagursky said.

As of Monday afternoon, graffiti was also spotted in Colonial Williamsburg near the College’s welcome sign on Jamestown Road, displaying similar phrases to the ones spray painted outside Swem. This graffiti displayed the phrase “Liberalism is yt supremacy,” replicating the statements found on Swem Library.

Similar graffiti was found in Colonial Williamsburg on a building adjacent to S. Boundary Street near ‘Confusion Corner.’ CLAIRE HOGAN / THE FLAT HAT

This is an evolving story and may be updated. Last updated Oct. 5 at 3:18 p.m.