This swastika was spray painted on the carpet of the LGBTQA on Sunday
There has been a candlelight vigil. There has been a march. As DPS continues to investigate the spray painting of a swastika in the office of the LGBTQA, we still have yet to find any answers. And, looking at the happenings going on in the Daily Emerald columns and their comments section, many people are jumping to rather rash conclusions.
Members of the LGBTQA have already tied the swastika directly to the Pacifica Forum, as seen in today’s Emerald, “LGBTQA Co-Director Alex Esparza linked the Forum’s rhetoric to the incident and criticized the ASUO’s decision. ‘I would like to see a student government that takes a stand against acts of hate like this,’ he said as EMU staff were removing the pieces of carpet upon which the symbol was painted.”
This is a slippery slope, legally speaking, as the organizers of the Forum exercise no control over what speakers say. So even if a speaker got up and incited the crowd to immediately go break into the LGBTQA with spray paint only the speaker would be guilty of incitement.
Of course, now from the other side (quoting here from the Emerald‘s comments section) there has been much discussion as to whether or not the LGBTQA, “may have painted it on their own office floor.” Again, this is a serious allegation, one of political violence as a means to an end.
Before we go any further, let’s discuss the nature of the crime committed. Clearly, no matter what the outcome, the individual or group who perpetrated this act of vandalism is, in some way, mentally unstable. A person of such poor judgement that they are unable to see what such an act means to the whole of society and to the larger discussion that centers around the Pacifica Forum. Additionally, this has not been the first time the EMU has seen such an attack.
During the Summer of 1997, Oregon Commentator staffers returned to their office, room 205, to find the door broken into, open and with swastika stickers all over it. Further, once they entered the room, they found that the Commentator‘s computers had been stolen, more swastikas had been placed all around the room, and the room itself had been destroyed–papers, cabinets, books and other items were violently hurled across the office. Further, a menacing note was left on the desk in the office that was directed towards the members of the Oregon Commentator. The perpetrators were never found.
Having said that, the issue at hand raises some fairly interesting questions, ones we will have to wait to see answered until DPS and eventually EPD (with which a report has still not yet been filed as of this post) finishes their investigation and, hopefully, brings the perpetrators to justice.
1. Why the LGBTQA? Yes, Rojas is a noted homophobe, but the conversation at the Forum itself has not centered around any gay, transgender or other associated topics the LGBTQA advocates for. When the Jewish Student Union and the Black Student Union are right down the hall, don’t they seem like more appropriate targets for Nazis? Or what about the Survival Center, easily the area with the highest concentration of anti-Pacifica protest organizers? And if you were a homophobe, wouldn’t you spray paint some of the things that were more offensive to you in the LGBTQA office (other than the carpet)?
2. Did someone pick the lock? If not, how did the perpetrator get a key to the LGBTQA office?
3. Why would they spray paint one computer screen and one television, but leave everything else in the room untouched?
4. If you are a member of the Pacifica Forum, or a supporter of some of the speakers’ more radical, Nazi ideals, you most likely understand the fight the Pacifica Forum is going through to stay on this campus. The conversation has turned, lately, to the issue of campus safety–one in which Pacifica Forum members have vehemently denied any attacks on students. If the Forum and its supporters are trying to convince people they are not attacking students, why would you, then, attack students (the LGBTQA)?
This situation was out of hand weeks ago. At this point in time, we need answers. And we needed them Sunday.