Western Michigan University police investigated an incident where the inside of a campus building was spray painted with a phrase one professor called a slogan of white supremacy.
Western spokesperson Paula Davis said vandals tagged three different phrases in the Gilmore Theatre Complex between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Wednesday, March 10, 2021.
Davis said the phrases "All Lives Matter," "Blue Lives Matter" and "Back the Blue" were spray-painted in a hallway and on the floors.
Western Michigan University Theatre Department Chair Joan Herrington said she discovered the vandalism. In an email to her students, she said the floors of Shaw and Williams had been spray-painted with "inflammatory, white supremacist slogans."
"This is also a crime against our community - a willful and shameful effort to cause injury and to divide us," Herrington said. "We will take this as a crucial reminder of the work that must be done to dismantle racism embedded in our world."
Civil rights activists have considered "All Lives Matter" to be a counter response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
"We don’t know the intention of this person, but we know the background of how that term is frequently used," Davis said.
"What happened is upsetting and obscene," Anna Brodhagen, a Western junior, said.
Brodhagen said the vandalism isn't shocking in this time of racial division.
"With a lot of things going on in 2020, and they’re carrying over in 2021," Brodhagen said, "I think it’s expected. Do I think it’s right? Absolutely not."
Davis said the university brought in counselors Friday that specialize in diversity to help students process what happened.
"What the WMU community wants is to promote treating each other with kindness, respect, building mutual understanding," Davis said.