COLUMBIA — Almost a year after two MU students scattered cotton balls in front of MU's Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, the university is dealing with what appears to be another hate crime incident.
The MU Police Department was alerted Saturday morning that a racial slur referring to Black History Month had been written in graffiti across a sculpture in front of Hatch Residence Hall, MU Police Department Capt. Brian Weimer said.
Weimer said police are still in the early stages of investigation.
Originally covered with cardboard and plastic, Residential Life workers cleaned the graffiti off with a power washer and scrub brushes at about 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Members of Residential Life would not comment on the incident because of a media policy, Hatch Hall Coordinator Patrick Patterson said.
MU Chancellor Brady Deaton released a statement at about 1:30 p.m.
"I speak for our entire university community when I say we are dismayed and deeply offended and have a zero tolerance for this hurtful and destructive behavior," Deaton wrote in the statement.
Bryan Like, president of MU's NAACP collegiate chapter, said that he wants the university to take a greater stand on the issue.
"We need to hear from the powers that be how the issue will be dealt with," Like said. "We need retribution. If the university really has a zero tolerance policy, why won't actions like these result in expulsion?"
Like said that he wants the university to work on educating students about racial issues to prevent these types of occurrences.
"I think we need to talk to the incoming freshman about racial issues. You shouldn't have to pay per credit hour for a class to receive the education that brings about change," Like said.
As of 2:15 p.m. Saturday, MU police have no additional information, Weimer said.