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The College of William & Mary Police Department is investigating an act of vandalism the college’s president is calling “very disturbing.”
The investigation comes after housekeeping staff discovered a pencil drawing depicting a human figure hanging from a tree etched on a wall in Blow Memorial Hall.
In a message to the William & Mary community, college President Taylor Reveley said housekeeping staff arrived at Blow Hall on Monday morning and discovered the approximately 1-foot tall drawing on a wall on the building’s second floor.
Reveley said the drawing was found near spaces used by WMSURE, a faculty-led program that supports research opportunities for underrepresented students, and the college’s counseling center.
The drawing did not include any letters or words, and featured what Reveley referred to as a “generic human.”
Housekeeping staff removed the drawing before William & Mary police were able to photograph or study it.
“There has been speculation on campus and in the social media that it was meant to depict a lynching,” Reveley said in a news release. “According to the investigation, however, the drawing was not accompanied with any words, messages or other symbols that police say are typically attached to a racially motivated threat. Given its proximity to the Counseling Center, another possibility is a reference to suicide.”
Despite the suggestions of a connection to race or suicide, Reveley said it was unclear what the drawing’s meaning was, if any.
“Either way, the drawing was flatly unacceptable, very disturbing, and quite detrimental to our community,” Reveley said in a news release.
Anyone with information relating to the case is asked to contact the William & Mary Police Department at 757-221-4596.