University of Georgia President Jere Morehead.
At Georgia College, located in Milledgeville, two students reported to campus officials earlier this week that a swastika drawn on the doors of their residence hall. In addition, an off-campus resident in Milledgeville reported that the words “white power” were written in dust on a vehicle near the campus. The incidents took place last Saturday and Sunday, Georgia College’s student newspaper, The Colonnade, reported.
The school’s president, Steve Dorman, said in a message Friday: “Let me add my voice in strongly condemning these despicable acts. They are not in keeping with our shared values of reason, respect, and responsibility. Our campus must be a place that is welcoming and inclusive for all. I call on all of us to create an environment that is safe and inviting for all members of our community.”
Georgia College has about 7,000 students.
Officials at both Georgia institutions are asking students to share any information with campus authorities that may help the investigation. They’re also offering counseling services.
Religious-based hate crimes is increasing on college campuses, according to a recent federal report.
A U.S. Government Accountability Office report in October that found religious-based hate crime on college campuses has increased significantly nationwide over the last decade. Religious-based hate crimes reported to the U.S. Department of Education increased from 103 in 2009 to 189 in 2017, and crimes reported to the U.S. Department of Justice increased from 24 in 2009 to 59 in 2017, the GAO report found.
Most of the hate crimes were anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim. About 60% of the crimes were vandalism. There were 13 crimes in Georgia since 2009, an AJC review of the Department of Education’s database found.
The GAO recommended that the Justice Department update and share more information about its resources to help address religious-based hate crimes on college campuses. The department agreed with the recommendations.