WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WVEC) -- The words "rape" and "rapists" appeared on fraternity houses at the College of William & Mary Thursday after someone spray-painted them on the buildings sometime overnight.
The graffiti was on several buildings including those of Beta Theta Pi and Pi Kappa Alpha as well as the Fraternity-Sorority Community Building.
“I think it was surprising to see that all over the buildings,” Johnson said freshman Chance Johnson.
The incident caused a lot of outrage in the Greek community and among other students. It also started a conversation about the general topic of sexual assaults on college campuses.
According to the 2017 Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety report for William & Mary, the number of reported rapes on campus grew from three in 2014 to seven in 2015 and, then, to 10 in 2016.
Three months ago, the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation into how sexual violence is 'handled' at the college.
The investigation is the second federal investigation at William & Mary. The first took place in 2014.
School spokeswoman Suzanne Seurattan provided 13News Now with this statement regarding the graffiti:
Graffiti was found overnight on several fraternity houses and a community building. William & Mary Police are investigating. Defacing university buildings or destruction of property is never an acceptable form of expression. Anyone who has relevant information about this incident should contact the William & Mary Police at 757-221-4596.
Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler sent out this message on Thursday:
Dear William & Mary Community,
I wanted to share information about an incident that you will likely see in the news today.
Early this morning, William & Mary Police (WMPD) discovered that nearly all of our fraternity houses on Ukrop Way, as well as the fraternity/sorority community building, had been vandalized. Graffiti on the buildings included “rape” and “rapists” spray painted on the brick exteriors. The buildings have since been cleaned and WMPD is conducting a full investigation. To be clear, damage to or destruction of property, particularly graffiti on our buildings, is never an acceptable form of expression and won’t be tolerated.
Sexual violence and rape are serious issues on college campuses, including ours. While we have made progress at William & Mary, our efforts to educate about, prevent, and respond to sexual violence must and do continue in earnest. Defacing property and unfairly labeling an entire segment of our community is neither an effective nor acceptable way to advance that cause.
For resources, support or information on how to report any form of sexual violence, please visit www.wm.edu/sexualviolence. If you have any information on this incident, please contact William & Mary Police at 757-221-4596.
Pi Kappa Alpha released this statement about the incident:
The residence of Gamma Chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity was vandalized with spray paint early Thursday morning. The chapter reported the criminal activity to local authorities and is fully cooperating with investigators in hopes of identifying the perpetrator.