Stanford police are investigating the appearance of symbols assumed to represent swastikas throughout campus.

According to Bill Larson, public information officer for the Department of Public Safety, the symbols appeared in seven locations and were first reported to police on Dec. 30 and 31. They were also reported at locations in Palo Alto. The symbols were hand-drawn in an oil-based substance.

The locations are:

  • On a pillar on the Main Quad
  • On a sign in the Rodin Sculpture Garden
  • On a sign on the 800 block of Campus Drive
  • On a sign on Campus Drive at Escondido Road
  • On a sign on the 800 block of Bowdoin Street
  • On the Graduate School of Education building
  • On the Clock Tower

“The symbols are not technically swastikas,” said Police Chief Laura Wilson. “However, due to the similarity of the symbols to a swastika and the perception by witnesses that the symbols were intended to represent an object commonly associated with hate-based violence, the police are investigating the vandalism as a possible hate crime.”

Their appearance brought a sharp rebuke from President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

“It is profoundly troubling to learn that vandals have defaced both the Stanford campus and Palo Alto with symbols of hate,” he said. “The university does not tolerate hate crimes, and our campus police are conducting a full investigation together with the Palo Alto police department. We have zero tolerance for such appalling acts. Stanford is a community that embraces civil discourse, where we value our differences and treat one another with respect.”

Stanford police, Larson said, are working with the Palo Alto Police Department on the investigation.

Police ask the community to call (650) 329-2413 with any information they have concerning the symbols.