UPDATED: Dec. 9, 5:23 p.m.
The Department of Public Safety has identified several people of interest after academic buildings at Syracuse University were vandalized with graffiti bearing anti-university messages Monday morning.
Maxwell Hall, Eggers Hall, Huntington-Beard Crouse Hall, Newhouse III, Link Hall and Smith Hall were all found marked with bright blue, red, green and orange graffiti.
DPS first received reports of the vandalism at about 1:30 a.m. Monday, said DPS Associate Chief John Sardino. He said the graffiti was probably created shortly before then — late Sunday night or early Monday morning. DPS is now conducting a thorough investigation, including reviewing video from cameras on campus, Sardino said. Almost a dozen camera angles cover the vandalized areas, he said.
They are also reviewing footage from cameras that cover exits and entrances to campus. But the process of reviewing several hours of footage from up to 40 different cameras is time- and labor-intensive, he said.
Time will tell how much money and labor it will take the university to remove the graffiti, Sardino said, but the cold conditions meant the paint did not adhere as well as it would have during warmer weather.
“We’re not aware yet of what the purpose was, what the motivation of this crime was,” he said. “Typically if people want to voice their opinion the university will allow that to take place without actually performing a criminal act.” He added that the last time SU was affected by graffiti on this scale was during the apartheid crisis of the 1990s.
Many of the messages specifically criticized the university, including one written across a bench near Eggers Hall that said "$57,000 to take your finals.” Another message scrolled across the exterior wall of Newhouse III said "#1 in communication LAST in free speech.”
Other messages were more vague – Smith Hall was marked with "Draw a monster why is it a monster?," a quote by novelist Janice Lee, while "Love is cursed by monogamy," a lyric from Kanye West and Jay Z’s song "No Church in the Wild," was graffitied onto Link Hall. It appeared that someone attempted to wash off the graffiti on Newhouse III and Maxwell and Eggers halls, but the messages were still faintly visible.
Interim Chancellor Eric Spina said in a statement the administration was “saddened and disappointed” to see the exercise of free speech take such a destructive turn.
“Every member of our campus community is entitled to his or her right to free speech, and there are many constructive ways to have your voice heard in our community,” he said, adding that the university was already working to assess and repair the damage.