University of Maryland implements hate-bias strategies — and finds more swastikas on campus

The Baltimore Sun

The University of Maryland received two more reports of hate- or bias-related incidents on campus in the past week despite recent attempts to stymie such episodes.

A swastika and the numbers “1488” — a numerical slogan associated with white supremacy — were found Oct. 5 written in the grout of a bathroom stall wall in an academic building on campus. During an Oct. 8 off-campus party at which people were drawing on one another’s shirts, one person drew swastikas on the T-shirts of two people, according to the university department of diversity’s hate-bias report log.

The log, which is not available for viewing without university identification, was created as one of several recommendations made by a diversity task force in May. The task force based the recommendations on a campus climate report.

The university agreed to hire a consultant to craft the campus climate report after the murder of Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III on its College Park campus in May 2017. The Prince George’s County State’s Attorney filed first-degree murder and hate-crime charges against Sean Urbanski stemming from Collins’ death.

In addition to creating the log, university officials agreed to add a conduct policy that prohibits threats or intimidation and to hire a program manager for “hate-bias response.”

This week’s incidents make nine reported to police this semester on the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. In September, university police investigated several incidents on campus after students discovered a swastika and anti-LGBT messages scrawled on whiteboards in dorms.

There were 12 incidents of hate reported at the university in 2016 and 28 in 2017, according to the Maryland State Police. Incidents of hate, including situations that might not necessarily constitute a crime, must be reported to state police annually.

Hate crimes were up across the state in 2017, according to a recently published Maryland State Police report. There were 398 hate or bias incidents reported in 2017, up about 35 percent from the 295 reported in 2016.

Those with information about the incidents can call 301-405-3555 or leave an anonymous tip on the University of Maryland Police Department website.

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Baltimore Sun reporters Sarah Meehan, Catherine Rentz and Talia Richman contributed to this article.

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