Two swastika signs in the Davis freight elevator were removed by UTM’s Campus Police after being reported on March 10 by a university staff member.
According to the manager of the campus police services, Robert Messacar, in an interview with The Medium, the two swastikas were each around two inches in height. He conceded that the incident was not made public because students do not use the freight elevator.
“It was an area that’s not generally utilized by our community members and we’re looking at it as a one-of-a-kind incident at this point,” he said. “Unfortunately these [incidents] pop their head up every once in a while. It’s the first one we had in quite a while […]. I believe it’s the first one we’ve had in 10 months or a year.”
As previously reported by The Medium, there has been comments promoting rape culture in the Student Centre’s male washroom back in February last year.
Messacar thought that the lack of frequent vandalism incidents on campus show that the campus is relatively safe.
“I think it says that our community is still very safe. The fact that these very rarely happen, I think speaks volumes for our community,” said Messacar. “What we keep saying is that unfortunately we are not immune to influences that go on everywhere in the world.”
“We are very proud of our diverse community here at UTM […],”added Jane Stirling, UTM’s director of marketing and communications. “But we want to do everything we can to make sure that the students are supported, the faculty and staff—our community feels welcome here [and supported] and that any incidents like this are dealt with immediately, directly, and appropriately.”
Stirling also explained that if students or staff are affected by incidents such as these ones, the Equity and Diversity Office is open for support.
The situation is currently still part of an open investigation, and community members are encouraged to inform campus police regarding any information they might have, according to Messacar. The case has also been reported to the Peel Police and is being treated as “a hate-bias incident.”