Spray-painted far-right propaganda was reported to Gonzaga University’s Campus Security and Public Safety (CSPS) on Saturday evening. It has since been covered up by Plant Services.
The vandalism was located on the mural wall outside of College Hall. The vandalism was a spray-painted picture of the U.S. with the words, “not stolen, conquered,” written around it. This image was painted three times on the wall.
Vice Provost of Student Affairs Kent Porterfield said CSPS will be increasing patrols for tonight.
This is the second time in less than two weeks where far-right propaganda has been found spray-painted on the mural wall outside of College Hall. The propaganda is related to the far-right hate group Patriot Front, a white supremacist organization based in Texas with national membership.
CSPS and Spokane Police Department have responded to the incident on campus. According to Porterfield, there has been no other vandalism on campus reported.
Based on their investigation, associate director of CSPS Scott Wittel said that CSPS officers located and detained two of the suspects, who were not students, near Campion Hall. SPD was notified and the two suspects were arrested and booked for malicious mischief.
On Friday, GSBA in collaboration with the Office of Mission Integration and Center for Tribal Relations hosted an event for students to repaint the wall. Students painted the message, “we reside on Native land,” and wrote the name of the Indigenous lands students came from on the wall with Sharpie.
GSBA President Miguel Acosta Loza said the event was a meaningful way to reclaim the space and demonstrate the broad university commitment to fighting hate and discrimination and making the campus a welcoming place for all students. He said he was encouraged by the number of students and campus organizations who were involved in supporting the event.
“It’s pretty tiring advocating for yourself all the time, especially for those communities that are more marginalized,” Acosta Loza said. “It’s a symbol that as a community, we are ready to step up for [those affected] and reclaim the spaces that mean a lot to us.”
According to Acosta Loza, he felt sick hearing the news that the wall had once again been subjected to vandalism from the Patriot Front. He said the act felt like a “direct attack” against the university and its mission because of their quick response to the covering of the vandalism . Acosta Loza said he has emailed GU President Thayne McCulloh about the incident and hopes for a further campus-wide response.
“In my case, this has taken a toll on my mental health,” Acosta Loza said. “It’s taking a toll on my emotional well being, because knowing that there are these horrible people in our own community who think it is wrong for us to be here just makes me sick to my stomach.”
The Bulletin will continue to report on the situation as more information becomes available.