Swastikas found on doors in Pioneer Hall

University of Minnesota police are looking into the discovery of two swastikas on separate doors in Pioneer Hall. University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner said the swastikas are believed to have been drawn on the doors with permanent marker on Halloween. Pioneer Hall staff found the swastikas on Monday and was reported to police. Miner said there are no suspects at this time. Miner said it does not appear that the residents were targeted for any reason. âÄúThey do not feel like they were targeted,âÄù Miner said. âÄúIt just seems to be sort of a random act.âÄù Miner said the incident is unique because the students did not report it and tried to clean it up themselves. Assistant Director of Residential Life Susan Stubblefield said one of the residents covered a swastika with a sheet of paper. âÄú[They] didnâÄôt really put the pieces together that it was something that we would feel this important to follow up and have removed so quickly,âÄù Stubblefield said. Stubblefield said staff found the swastikas when they were doing rounds. She said the staff is trained to look for messages that might be offensive. Pioneer Hall resident Mike Leifker said he was surprised to hear about the swastikas. He said it was probably a prank, but he would be upset if it wasnâÄôt. âÄúEveryone is entitled to their opinion but making something that is that oppressive âĦ you should keep it to yourself,âÄù Leifker said. Karley Weir also lives in Pioneer Hall and was unaware of the swastikas. âÄúIf it was a hate crime or a prank or anything, itâÄôs just disrespectful,âÄù Weir said. âÄúIt shouldnâÄôt happen.âÄù Stubblefield said incidents similar to this have happened in the past. âÄúUnfortunately there are times when students do not realize that their actions can impact other people in the community,âÄù she said. Miner said the crime is damage to property, which is a misdemeanor. He said if it is determined that the students were targeted because of race or religion, then the sentence would be enhanced to a gross misdemeanor, which could result in up to one year in jail and up to a $3,000 fine. Miner said police are working with the residence hall staff. Miner said if the swastikas had been put on a piece of paper and taped to the door, it would have been free speech, but because they were done with a permanent marker it doesnâÄôt receive the same protection. Stubblefield said they are following up on the individuals involved and the person responsible would have to go through their judicial process if they are found.