May 19, 2024
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By Lisa Balick

The South Portland Police Department is investigating the graffiti that was spray painted on several school buildings.

Many messages contained anti-police and pro-Palestine rhetoric and were directed against the school.

Around 2 am on Monday morning, campus police discovered two individuals spraying building. However, the suspects fled before being arrested.

Spray-painted were four buildings, a Lewis & Clark College bridge and a few vehicles.

According to the head of Jewish campus groups, this graffiti makes Jewish students uncomfortable.

We’ve noticed graffiti at Lewis & Clark every year around Indigenous Peoples Day. Hannah Sherman, Executive Director of PDX Hillel, said that this year with the inclusion of “free Palestine” and given the timing we see in Israel by Hamas, as well as the violence here, the Jewish community is feeling uneasy, particularly on college campuses.

According to the college, it would cost thousands to repair damage caused to property and buildings.

Lewis & Clark’s President Robin H. Holmes Sullivan issued a press release saying that any threats made against a member of the community would not be tolerated.

I am deeply saddened at the act of vandalism that occurred on our campus this morning. You will probably share my dismay and shock. This action shows a shocking lack of respect towards the students’ hard work and for staff and faculty who support them.

Please reach out to those who can help you or use the resources on campus, such as the Student Counseling Center and Center for Spiritual Life. Students can reach our Crisis Counseling Service by calling 503-265-7800 at any time the Counseling Service closes. Employee Assistance Program is available to employees. All members of the LC Community can also access help through the Ombuds Office.

We are not like this. I’m sure that you all are just as dedicated as me to the nurturing of our care community. It breaks my heart that some individuals tried to undermine that.

There will be no disruption. Even in disagreements, our campus values communication and dialogue. It is important to us that our campus values listening and empathy, rather than vandalism in the shared spaces of living, learning and community.

It is important to me that I make it clear: Threats against members of our community are not tolerated. Campus Safety is a team of dedicated professionals who work hard to create a safe and secure environment for us all. It is unacceptable to use violent language towards them or any other member of our community.

As president of Lewis & Clark, I continue my commitment of a lifetime to the students who are pursuing higher education. My commitment is to lead Lewis & Clark towards the accomplishment of our goals, the most important being preparing students for success in a complicated world. My focus is on working with others in the community who are committed to this goal.

The cost of repairing the damage will be tens and thousands of dollars. These funds could have been better spent on increasing access to students or providing them with support.

We will never let this unfortunate incident dampen our spirit. “I am more dedicated than ever before to LC, our community and the future of our students.”

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