UGA probe: Clemson-bound student drew swastikas on student doors

The arch at the University of Georgia’s North Campus.
The arch at the University of Georgia’s North Campus.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify where the student identified by UGA officials is enrolled. 

University of Georgia officials have determined that a Clemson University-bound student visiting the Athens campus is responsible for drawing swastikas on student doors inside Russell Hall last month.

UGA did not identify the student but said in a statement Wednesday that he has been banned from UGA campuses. The student will not face criminal charges.

“The University of Georgia has not identified any criminal charges that local authorities are able to pursue at this time,” read the statement.

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The swastikas, which are signs of anti-Semitism, unnerved many students and their families. Similar incidents also happened last month at Georgia College & State University, located in Milledgeville.

The student admitted to drawing swastikas and genitals on door decorations in the UGA residence hall in October, according to an incident report obtained through an open records request. Someone saw him drawing the images, told him to stop and erased them. The witness did not file a report and did not believe the student “meant to offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable,” the report said.

The student admitted to being in Russell Hall again in November, but denied making any drawings during that visit. Still, investigators comparing the drawings concluded they were made by the same person.

The student’s father, who was contacted for the investigation, said the student had no history of trouble. That the student was “just being drunk and silly” and would not do anything against anyone, the report said.

Clemson officials said this week in a statement that the student is enrolled at Tri-County Technical College in its Bridge to Clemson Program. The transfer program for freshman students offers academic advising and support for participants to begin their second year at Clemson. Students in the bridge program live in residential housing on Clemson's main campus.

UGA police consulted with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in its investigation and are sharing their findings with Clemson to determine whether the student violated that school’s code of conduct. Clemson has referred the matter to Tri-County Technical College and has begun its own review of the incident, according to a statement from the university.

Religious-based hate crimes have increased on college campuses nationwide in recent years. A recent federal Government Accountability Office report found 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.

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