Loftin expresses "horror and anger" over swastika on campus
COLUMBIA - MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin made his first public statement Friday on a swastika drawn with smeared feces in a residence hall on campus Oct. 24.
Loftin said he has not publicly denounced the action before now because he did not want to impede the MUPD's investigation.
"In these situations, I am forced with a choice between issuing a broad condemnation of a nonspecific bias incident or compromising an investigation," Loftin said in a letter released Friday afternoon.
Loftin said he had been in contact the leaders of 36 organizations who sent him a letter Thursday, criticizing his lack of action.
"While I have not issued a public denunciation, I have expressed my horror and anger to our students directly," Loftin said.
The swastika was found on the wall of a bathroom of Gateway Hall.
The letter from students Thursday said to Loftin, "We are dismayed that neither you nor any other MU administrator has yet to publicly address this act of blatant antisemitism, which clearly targets Jewish students and causes them to feel threatened and unsafe."
In his response, Loftin said, "Our highest priority is identifying and pursuing criminal prosecution of the perpetrator."
He said all who live in the residence hall have been informed of the event, have received support, and are being provided with resources on an ongoing basis.
He said the university's response to the incident and recent racial tension will include "full and comprehensive content that addresses all forms of bigotry, including anti-Semitism."
"We have robust anti-hate and anti-bias programs at the University of Missouri, and are working to make them mandatory for all," Loftin said.