GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOGX FOX 51) - Some University of Florida fraternity members are upset and shaken after a swastika and other things were found spray-painted on their home this weekend.
President-elect Donald Trump’s name, along with other graffiti appeared on the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house. Gainesville Police said this is no college prank.
Ben Tobias, with the Gainesville Police Department said, “This is being investigated as a hate crime. Based on the swastika that was painted on the residence.”
So, what happened? This was posted on the UF Delta Tau Delta Facebook page Sunday:
“In the early hours of this morning, our house was vandalized with a spray-painted swastika and other hateful rhetoric, along with broken windows. Yesterday there was a political protest march along University Avenue during which some of our members were on our front lawn expressing their political views. The University of Florida is an institution where one can express one's views with no fear of disdain or hostility, and these acts of vandalism should be denounced. As a diverse community of men with various political and religious backgrounds, the members of Delta Tau Delta advocate for the freedom of speech and political expression. We ask that we receive the support of the University in rejecting this conduct as it is vital for a truly inclusive campus.”
Fraternity members FOX 35 met Monday morning were not talking about the incident.
“No Comment,” one member said. Another said, “No, sorry.”
The frat quickly painted over the graffiti, but it’s impact remains.
Chris Cannizzarro, who lives across the street from the frat house, said, “It’s just kind of sad.” He went on to explain “Whether political side you’re on, I think it’s important to respect other people’s opinions as well, and not resort to this kind of nonsense.”
“I just think we need to come together as a nation,” said Beau Doerr, who also lives across the street from the frat house. “I feel like there’s a lot of hate directed toward Greek life. Then again, there’s a lot of hate everywhere else.”
Ben Tobias, with Gainesville Police said, “People that are choosing to bring hatred into our community, we’re going to seek them out. We’re going to arrest them, if we can find the evidence to do so.”
But that hasn’t happened yet. FOX 35 asked Tobias if there are any leads or suspects.
“At this point, it’s early in the investigation, and we don’t have any leads or any suspects. We’re asking for the public’s help”
The University of Florida’s President, Dr. Kent Fuchs issued a statement to FOX 35 saying, “I am saddened to learn the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house was vandalized with offensive messages and a swastika over the weekend. The University of Florida is committed to supporting all members of our community. I denounce any statements and symbols that hurt or disparage others.”