Department of Public Safety Investigating Bias Incident Reported on March 13

Syracuse University’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) is actively investigating the discovery of graffiti on a bulletin board in the Shaffer Art Building. The graffiti contained language, written in Russian, glorifying the invasion of Ukraine, along with a symbol reportedly displayed on some Russian military vehicles taking part in that invasion. That same symbol has been adopted as an instrument of propaganda by some outside Russia. The incident was first reported to DPS by a student on Sunday, March 13; the graffiti has since been removed.

Allen Groves, senior vice president and chief student experience officer, says it is especially troubling that an individual or individuals would target a community currently enduring such hardship and violence, including students, faculty and staff who have family and friends directly in harm’s way. “The invasion and ongoing war in Ukraine are having a significant, deep, and tangible impact on many members of our community, especially those from Ukraine and other parts of the region. These community members deserve our support as daily reports from Ukraine describe escalating and horrific loss of life and destruction.” said Groves. “Our DPS, in partnership with local and state law enforcement, is working to identify those responsible for this graffiti. I ask anyone with information to come forward, even if anonymously, as soon as possible.”

Since receiving the report, DPS has taken steps to identify the individual or individuals responsible. Actions by DPS include:

  • Contacted the reporting party to gather additional information and offer support
  • Conducted multiple interviews
  • Engaged the assistance of the Syracuse Police Department
  • Alerted the New York State Police Bias Task Force

There are no suspects at this time. Anyone with information about this incident should contact DPS at 315.443.2224. Anonymous tips can be reported to DPS through the Silent Witness tool or the Rave Guardian mobile app.

This is a challenging time for many in the Syracuse University community, particularly those with loved ones in the war zone. Resources available to members of our community include: