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A matter of concern

President Taylor Reveley sent the following message to the campus community June 19, 2015 - Ed.

Dear William & Mary Community,

Let me report what we know so far about an act of vandalism that occurred earlier this week in Blow Hall. The William & Mary police are actively investigating, and we hope to know more in due course.   

According to the report that reached our police, housekeeping staff arrived early Monday morning and discovered a pencil drawing on the hallway wall on the second floor of Blow Hall. The drawing was approximately a foot tall and depicted a human figure hanging from a tree. There were no letters or words accompanying the drawing, and the figure itself was simply a generic human.  The immediate, very understandable reaction of the staff upon discovering such an intensely disturbing drawing was to scrub it off the wall.  It was removed before the police were able to photograph and study it.  The drawing was near both a space used by WMSURE (a faculty-led program that supports research opportunities for underrepresented students) and the space occupied by the W&M Counseling Center.

At this point, we don’t know what the drawing was meant to mean. There has been speculation on campus and in the social media that it was meant to depict a lynching. According to the investigation, however, the drawing was not accompanied with any words, messages or other symbols that police say are typically attached to a racially motivated threat. Given its proximity to the Counseling Center, another possibility is a reference to suicide.  But, again, we don’t have evidence that suggests or confirms this. Either way, the drawing was flatly unacceptable, very disturbing, and quite detrimental to our community.  

If you have relevant information, please contact the William & Mary Police at 757-221-4596.

Taylor Reveley