AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Police are investigating the discovery of several swastikas on the UMass Amherst campus, just days after similar incidents at a nearby college.
"It's just so upsetting that it's happening here right now, in 2019, that people are still so hateful," said Madeline Moylan.
Five swastikas, drawn in chalk, were removed from the Fine Arts Center at UMass shortly after they were found Wednesday afternoon.
The university sent out a statement condemning the behavior and UMass Hillel, an organization that promotes Jewish life on-campus, posted a statement to their web page, saying in part:
UMass Hillel is disheartened by the discovery of five swastikas on the Fine Arts Center yesterday. Swastikas are symbols of hatred and violence towards Jews and others and have no place at UMass or anywhere. We denounce anti-Semitism and remain committed to cultivating a campus community where hate has no home. Now is a time to reaffirm the Jewish value that every person has inherent worth and to deepen our commitment to build a world of dignity, respect, tolerance and goodness.
The swastikas at UMass were found less than a week after swastikas at Smith college were found drawn on multiple buildings.
"I find that this kind of display of hatred and this kind of antisemitism just blows my mind, that it even exists in the world today, that people have that reaction to people of different cultures," Moylan added.
Smith College campus police found eight swastikas on three different campus buildings on October 24, six days before swastikas were found at UMass, but some UMass students said the incident on their campus wasn't surprising.
"It's definitely disheartening, but I don't think it's that surprising. There's been things like this that have happened in the past and this being a big party weekend has something to do with that," said Tommy Gillan.
Some said Halloween could be related to the timing.
"It is Halloween weekend and people are drunk. They're doing stupid things," said Anthony Goode.
However, others tell western mass news that the behaviorprank or notis upsetting.
"It's still unacceptable, either way, even more if it's actually coming from your true feelings about something and that just needs to change. It needs to change. One of my close friends is Jewish and I know she was very personally affronted by this," Moylan noted.
Moylan said it's a situation that could spark change.
"I just hope that everybody else realizes how serious this is and if they see anything to speak up about it because it's definitely important because the more people that speak out about it, the more of a chance we have to change people's attitudes about it," Moylan noted.
Campus police at both UMass and Smith College are investigating.