Coming home from a Halloween party Friday night, California Institute of the Arts student Daine Carter was greeted by red swastikas and devil images painted on his art studio walls. "They stole some stuff, and they used my paint brushes," Carter told CBS.
While this was a first for Carter, it follows several other racist graffiti incidents on the campus in recent months, including the tag "Niggers are morally corrupt." Cal Arts student Sasha Swedlund told CBS, "My studio has been broken into three times. The first time it was broken into and spray-painted everywhere."
On September 8, Cal Arts president and assistant provost, Steven Lavine, sent an email to his campus in response to the initial graffiti:
We want to make it clear that as a collective of artists we welcome an exchange of ideas and challenging critique, but.. We do not accommodate or accept language or actions imbued with hate.. Lest anyone feel that they are protected under the banner of "free speech" we want to be clear that this type of vitriolic language displayed in this context is considered a hate crime.
He went on to state that Cal Arts has "an active Diversity Committee that meets each month to further explore and address ideas and events around diversity in our community and all are welcome to attend."
As LA Weekly points out, in the aftermath of racist acts on other California campuses, various groups have pointed to the state's ban on affirmative action, arguing that lack of diversity translates into lack of tolerance and understanding. According to StateUniversity.com, only 1.8 percent of the CalArts student population is African American.
Officials are conducting an investigation into the incident; so far, there are no suspects.