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Keene State continues to deal with swastika graffiti

Union Leader Correspondent

December 15. 2016 8:19PM

KEENE — A second instance of graffiti depicting a swastika is being investigated by Keene State College officials, as well as city police this time around.

The graffiti was reported on Dec. 3, about two weeks after the first instance was reported.

According to Keene State spokesman Kelly Ricaurte on Thursday, the swastika was scratched into a stall divider of a men’s room in the Owls Nest residence hall.

“Keene Police Department and Campus Safety are investigating,” Ricaurte said in an email Thursday.

In November just before Thanksgiving break a swastika image was found in the residence building Carle Hall.

The image of a swastika had been burned into the ceiling of a third-floor bathroom in the dormitory.

Keene State psychology professor Lawrence Welkowitz had responded to Carle Hall when he heard about the graffiti on the morning of Nov. 22 and arrived to find a member of the custodial staff painting over it.

Welkowitz called attention to the first graffiti incident by posting photos of the graffiti on Twitter and Facebook.

College officials didn’t report the first incident to police, but launched a campus investigation to determine who burned the swastika into the ceiling, Ricaurte said in November, adding “the incident in Carle Hall is clearly inconsistent with the values of the college.”

The first instance of graffiti came just days after students and faculty had gathered for a “Speak Out,” to discuss political and social issues of the day following the presidential election on Nov. 8.

Welkowitz said in November that Keene State planned to address the swastika graffiti with more events on campus in which diverse political and social views could be shared openly and civilly.

On Thursday Ricaurte said outreach to students has continued in light of the most recent graffiti.

“Over the past several weeks, the Keene State College community, with the support of the college’s leadership, has responded to symbols and messages on campus, as well as local, national, and international events that have caused concern. Faculty, staff, and students have gathered in a variety of formats and venues to express concerns and discuss solutions, and efforts will continue in 2017. The college is dedicated to being inclusive, supportive, and welcoming.”

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