A pair of freshmen from Northwestern University have been arrested Saturday for allegedly spray-painting racially-charged slurs, depictions, and the word “Trump” on the walls of a chapel on campus.
According to The New YorkDaily News, 19-year-old Anthony Morales and 18-year-old Matthew Kafker were picked up by local police for vandalizing Northwestern’s Alice Millar Chapel with various derogatory phrases, as well as penises, a swastika, and the name of the G.O.P. presidential front-runner, who certainly has had a difficult week in “The Windy City” after protests halted his rally there.
New faces of hate.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) March 13, 2016
Northwestern students who painted slurs, a swastika, TRUMP on the walls of the school chapel. https://t.co/BoQWWKAJ0u
Their detainment, TheChicago Tribune added, came after the reviewing video security footage to identify the perpetrators.
According to Assistant Cook County State Attorney Brooke Shupe, both Morales and Kafker subsequently admitted to performing the vandalism via both handwritten and recorded statements to University police.
Reports indicate that Morales and Kafker broke into the non-denominational chapel, which is located at Northwestern’s Evanston campus, around 12:45 local time, Friday. The suspects are then believed to have painted a slur toward African Americans and a swastika in one hallway; a derogatory term for homosexuals and lines over the portraits of Muslim students on display in another portion of the facility; depictions of male genitalia, including over the word “God” in another hallway, as well as on a piano; and – mixed throughout – the name of the Republican presidential hopeful.
Prosecutors did not indicate the possible motive for the two students to even target this chapel – nor how they gained access with “no sign of forced entry” despite it being closed. Officials also believe that neither Morales nor Kafker were in any way tied to the chapel other than by virtue of taking classes on the campus.
“It’s disturbing to think that someone who’s been in this space would be venting some sort of rage that way,” said university chaplain Tim Stevens to Daily News. Stevens, who noted that he discovered the vandalism later in the morning and immediately told administration, continued that “I feel bad for them that they can’t handle it in a more productive way.”
“I can’t speculate whatever it was inside them that needed to be expressed through that,” Stevens continued, noting that most of the graffiti had been scrubbed away and that church services were held as usual today.
Northwestern University president Morton Schapiro was not, however, so dismissive, stating in an e-mail to the school’s community the following.
“On behalf of the entire Northwestern community, I express our shock and dismay at [this] abhorrent act of vandalism… in which racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic and other offensive graffiti was spray-painted on walls, offices and even the organ… They will be arrested and charged to the fullest extent of the law… Northwestern is committed to creating a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. This disgusting act of hatred violates the deepest values and core commitments of our University and is an affront to us all.”
No indication has been given as to whether Morales and Kafker will be welcomed back on campus, although one would expect they would not be warmly accepted.
Likely, however, legal issues could prevent them from continuing their studies at Northwestern. Each man is being held on $50,000 bail on charges of criminal damage to property, institutional vandalism, and hate crime in a place of worship.
“These allegations are disgusting to me,” said Cook County Judge Peggy Chiampas during the teens’ bonding hearing. “I don’t know if any of you know how lucky you are to be at Northwestern University.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, both men wore jeans and t-shirts, and did not speak during the proceedings, although Morales’ mother could be seen seated and crying.
The Northwestern University police force, TheDaily News noted, could not be immediately reached for comment.
[Image by David McNew/Getty Images]