The Amherst Police Department confirmed that there is an “active and ongoing” investigation into an incident of vandalism which was reported at the UMass Hillel House earlier this week.
According to Captain Gabriel Ting, an APD officer was on routine patrol and noticed the vandalism on the facade of the building at approximately 6:48 a.m. on April 21.
“There appeared to be red spray-painted graffiti with an Arabic inscription. From there, an investigation opened to determine what the translation of the inscription was and who was responsible for it,” Ting stated in an email. “It was determined that the translation of the spray-painted word was ‘Palestine.’”
As reported by the Collegian, the graffiti appeared to have been painted on Yom HaShoah, Israel’s day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust which began on April 20 and ended on April 21. Both UMass Hillel and the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Kumble Subbaswamy, condemned the act on Tuesday.
Ting said that the act was “not only criminal” but also reprehensible, given the day of remembrance.
“The Amherst Police Department will be working with their partners including the University of Massachusetts and the University of Massachusetts Police Department not only to solve this crime, but also, to ensure the safety of all of our institutions in town and on campus,” Ting added.
Staff at UMass Hillel have covered the vandalism with a banner, according to a Facebook post. The banner encourages the value of “Repairing and Restoration” and includes a quote from Anne Frank, a Holocaust victim. “How wonderful it is that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world,” the banner reads.
No further details were given due to the active status of the investigation. This article will be updated as more information becomes available.