Updated Sunday 6:14 p.m.
Pencil drawn swastikas were found in the Church Fine Art’s art staircase on Thursday, Oct. 10. They were marked over a statement which read: “Make Racist Afraid Again”.
It is currently unknown who drew the swastikas.
“The University is aware of a report of a swastika that was discovered on Thursday in a stairway located in the Church Fine Arts Building,” said John Trent, Senior Editor for News and Features at the university. “We continue to gather information on this report. The University strongly rejects hateful symbols or imagery.”
Swastikas were previously spray painted on the art staircase in October 2017 with the statement “Is this political enough?” beside it. After the incident, the College of Liberal Arts invited members of the community to paint over the hateful symbols.
Along with Church Fine Arts, Peavine Hall, Juniper Hall and Wolf Pack Tower have had swastikas graffitied on the buildings.
A swastika was found carved into a wall with a pencil in Peavine Hall on Oct. 27, 2018, a swastika was found drawn on Juniper Hall on Friday, March 8 and a swastika was found in Wolf Pack Tower on Saturday, Aug. 24.
In light of these incidents, David Horowitz Freedom Center, a think tank emphasizing public policy and institutional reform, named the University of Nevada Reno as one of the colleges featured in “Top ten neo-Nazi incidents on college campuses.”
University student Christopher Torres learned about the new swastikas in the staircase through a friend. He helped remove the graffiti using black paint.
“When I found it myself I was unsurprised,” Torres said in a Twitter message to the Nevada Sagebrush. “Ever since the initial sighting of swastikas on campus and no further action taken in finding responsible parties, of course, there’s more. UNR harbors people who do fall into neo-fascist dogmas. When I found it, I relayed the information to others so we can get together to cover it up.”
He believes Marc Johnson needs to make a statement that directly discusses white supremacy on campus. He told the Nevada Sagebrush someone spotted stickers posted by Patriot Front, a white identitarian organization, near and on campus on Wednesday, Oct. 9. Southern Poverty Law Center describes Patriot Front as a white supremacy organization who broke off from Vanguard America in the aftermath of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.
“Johnson treated [the American Identity Movement] as an anomaly like these sort of parties aren’t active on our campus and the manner in which he neglects it still gives them all the permission they need to pose significant danger to students, faculty, and staff,” Torres said. “I’m sure you’ve seen the pledge to have Marc Johnson promise the UNR population safety from white supremacy and he hasn’t as much as acknowledged it.”
Torres believes swastikas appearing consistently is the product of a white supremacist presence that is no longer afraid of being more public. He thinks it’s only a matter of time before situations regarding white supremacists get physical.
“When UNR brought in Charlie Kirk, it further displayed that they have no concern for student well being by allowing a man who has spoken on numerous points involving anti-semitism, homophobia, transphobia, and other racially charged statements […],” he said. “[H]ow do I expect the university to take care of me and others when all their solutions have been nothing more than performative?”
This is a developing story. Check back with the Nevada Sagebrush for more updates.
Taylor Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @taylorkendyll.