On Nov. 9 of the Fall 2018 semester, a student had a shocking discovery. While walking to class near Lot 72, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) student Kristen Finley noticed that someone had drawn a swastika onto the pavement that experiences daily traffic from students.
“It definitely wasn’t something I expected to see walking to class, and the first thing I wondered was how many people walked by it before I did and didn’t report it,” said Finley, “especially since it was within such a short time from the Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh.” The Synagogue shooting, which resulted in 11 deaths and seven injuries, occurred on Oct. 27, 2018, shortly before the discovery of the swastika on campus.
“I don’t believe that it’s truly an act of anti-Semitism, but someone’s version of a very, very sick joke. I just hope that if things like this appear on campus in the future, that other students are more eager to report it,” concluded Finley.
Despite students not being especially eager to confront this issue, the police department was quick to act. Shortly after Finley tweeted a photo of the vandalism, tagging the University Police Department (UPD) to bring it to their attention, the UPD attempted to gather as much information as possible on this concerning display.
While the swastika is indisputably a symbol of hate, UPD Police Chief Earl Lawson explained that “the most we can charge them with is a misdemeanor for vandalism. While a swastika is sad and uncalled for, it can’t be a hate crime because there’s no direct violence.” Although there is no word on whether the culprit was caught, the UPD believes the vandalism occurred late the night before or in the early morning of Nov. 9, when it was reported by Finley.
Meanwhile, CSUMB continues to make every effort to be an inclusive, diverse campus, and it is encouraging to note that vandalism such as this is certainly out of the ordinary. Brian Copening of the Office of Inclusive Excellence spoke out about the issue to say “[the] goal here is to make sure that students here feel safe, welcome and that they have a second home here. CSUMB has a positive reputation as one of the more inclusive and diverse campuses, so to see this on our campus is beyond disappointing.”