Students and faculty clean up racist graffiti at UNR

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Students, faculty and community members got together at the Church Fine Arts building at the University of Nevada, Reno on Sunday afternoon to try to demonstrate their rejection to all forms of hate. They used paint brushes and spray paint to cover the Swastikas that appeared Friday morning in the stairwell of the building.

"I needed to do something to help combat that and show my support to those communities that were targeted," says Cullen Wegman, a graduate student.

"I feel assaulted, I feel threatened, I feel angry, but I'm not afraid," says Paul Baker Prindle, a faculty member.

But the group did more than just cover up the hateful graffiti. They painted messages of love, peace and diversity.

"Blatant statements of hate are not welcome on the wall. People put it on the wall and then we are free to paint over it and put a new expression up there," says Debra Moddelmog, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

It's not known who painted the Swastikas in the stairwell. But it has long been a place for creative expression. The walls are filled with street art and sayings. Some could argue that the Swastikas are a form of creative expression. The College of Liberal Arts Dean says University Galleries firmly rejects the Anti-Semitic and inhumane values such symbols express.

"I know that Swastikas are protected under the free speech in our country. My point that I tried to make was not that we were trying to squelch free expression, but we are trying to say we can counter those types of expressions with other types of expressions. This wall is our wall and we are going to take it back," says Dean Moddelmog.

And that's what they did. People also wanted to show their solidarity with those affected by the symbol.

"You are not alone! We want you here and you are much a part of this country as anybody else," says Dean Moddelmog.