KENT, Ohio - Large spray-painted profanity and racist graffiti was discovered over the weekend at the Sigma Chi fraternity house; just off campus on East Main Street near Kent State University.
Chapter President Jimmy Gross says it happened overnight Sunday while some members were away and others were sleeping upstairs.
He says the perpetrators appear to have accessed the house through a basement window, which was discovered broken out with profane graffiti around it on the homes exterior.
The graffiti, which include the “n-word,” curse words and sexual images was also painted all over the walls inside the basement.
“It’s something that’s very, very offensive to all of us, and not just those who are African-American,” said Gross, “But fact that it’s on our property, where our friends, our brothers feel safe here and then something like that (happens.)”
According to Sigma Chi Advisor Tom Ross, the KSU chapter is comprised of a diverse group of students, who are known for consistently getting good grades and fundraising for different causes including autism and cancer.
He says the graffiti went far beyond any college prank.
“This really crosses the line, we have black members in our chapter and they’re all great kids, one is a military Iraq war veteran,” said Ross, “I take it as a threat directly against those kids.”
Ross says a lot of attention is often given when a fraternity or sorority member does something wrong and he hopes everyone, including law enforcement, will give this case just as much attention.
Kent police are investigating but weren’t available for comment because it’s an open investigation.
At a minimum, the suspects could face a number of charges including vandalism, burglary, and breaking and entering.
But some people associated with the fraternity think police need to investigate the possibility that this was a hate crime because they say, it seems to meet the criteria of such an offense.
Congress defines a hate crime as “any traditional offense like murder, arson or vandalism with an added element of bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”
“Definitely not something we would just brush under the rug,” said Gross, ”It’s very hurtful to us as a whole and to the Kent State Greek community.”
A spokesperson for Kent State University told Fox 8 News that they are taking the matter very seriously and although it happened off campus they are offering support to the fraternity members, while closely following the investigation.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Kent Police at 330-673-7732.