'This Is A Hate Crime': Swastika Drawn On Avila University Campus

Aug 15, 2017

Avila officials say a swastika was discovered drawn on a building Monday.
Credit Courtesy of Avila University

Officials at Avila University say they are investigating a swastika drawn on an academic building on the south Kansas City campus. 

University officials say the swastika was written in chalk and was discovered on the outside of Dallavis Hall Monday. An Avila spokesman says the swastika was quickly removed after being found.  

An email alerting faculty and students to the incident called it a “hate crime.”

"This incident is a hate crime. Avila takes incidents like this very seriously and the incident is being investigated," the email read. 

A school spokesman told KCUR Tuesday that Avila had not contacted outside law enforcement about the incident. The university emailed statement asked students, faculty, and staff to report any information they may have about the incident to campus security. 

Federal law says a hate crime occurs when a person "uses, or threatens to use, force to willfully interfere with any person because of race, color, religion, or national origin." The classification of a crime as a hate crime can enhance penalties for those found guilty. 

Avila President Dr. Ron Slepitza is quoted in the email. He writes, “Hate, bigotry, and racism have no place on the Avila campus. Acts like this are unacceptable.”

Dallavis Hall, according to the school's website, houses classrooms and studios for Avila's arts and communications departments, among other things. 

Two years ago, a swastika was drawn in feces in a residence hall at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Soon after, a Mizzou graduate student began a hunger strike that helped spark wider student protests, which eventually prompted the resignations of two top administrators. 

ProPublica's 'Documenting Hate' project has worked to create over the past year a first-of-its-kind national database of hate crimes and alleged hate crimes. "There is simply no government agency document[ing] lower-level incidents of harassment and intimidation," the report says on its website. 

Kyle Palmer is KCUR's morning newscaster and a reporter.