Last weekend, the USF community awoke to the appearance of graffiti in the Cypress D residence hall.
The incidents occurred on Sept. 10 and Sept. 13, respectively, and Ana Hernandez, assistant vice president for Housing and Residential Education at USF, believes they are related.
Hernandez said the “bias-related graffiti … seemed to be targeting a particular individual or individuals that were in the hall.”
She said she could not disclose what the graffiti said or where exactly it appeared.
In an email to the Cypress Hall community, Linda Kasper, director of residential life and education, condemned the vandalism.
“This past week, we had incidents of vandalism and hate speech in Cypress Hall, which is unacceptable,” Kasper said in the email.
Hernandez emphasized that she felt the USF community is a welcoming one, highlighting programs that Housing and Residential Education puts on to “open up dialogue” among students.
“We are very active with regard to programming and have some signature programs that we do throughout the year to … create those kinds of welcoming environments,” she said.
Hernandez said that two of USF’s most important values are “civility” and “respect”, and that these qualities help students succeed where they live and where they study.
“We have very diverse student body,” she said. “We want everybody to feel welcome and have the opportunity to be successful for the purpose that they came to the university for.”
Adam Freeman, USF’s media and public affairs manager, encouraged students who witness or know of actions like the one that happened in Cypress to contact University Police immediately.
“If somebody is doing something (harmful) it’s probably important for members of the community to note what’s going on and report that,” he said.
Hernandez agreed with Freeman’s suggestion.
“If anybody discovers somebody that is creating vandalism in any form, we certainly want to encourage them to inform University Police so that we can have an active investigation and resolve that issue,” she said.
Hernandez said that USF has both an anonymous tip line and a regular one that students can utilize to report any issues that they notice in their community.
“We’re trying to remove any barriers that may exist to people really getting involved and taking an active part in the community,” she said.