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One of four main elevators in Rodin College House was vandalized with a racial slur shortly before 5 p.m. on Oct. 23.

A detective from the Division of Public Safety arrived at 5:03 p.m. that Monday to examine the elevator and open an investigation. A day later, an email signed by House Dean Kathryn McDonald and Rodin Faculty Director Daniel Gillion notified residents of the event.

“The leadership in Rodin College House promotes and embraces a community that does not stand for acts of bias, hate, and intolerance,” the email stated in bold. "We want to emphasize the importance and value of the community we create together. The residents who live in Rodin need to be safe."


In an interview, McDonald said Josh Coleman, a graduate associate for the 11th floor, discovered the slur, which was located “on the right side [of the elevator] above the buttons." Coleman did not respond to request for comment.

As of Oct. 25, the nature of the slur has not been released and the perpetrator has not been found, DPS Vice President Maureen Rush said.

Rush added that when incidents involving offensive graffiti occur, the standard response procedure is for the Penn Police Department to take photographs of the vandalism, and then for the graffiti to be removed. 

Penn Police also opens an investigation into such incidents, and typically starts by looking at security footage to see who was near the scene of the incident at the time it occurred, and interview people who think they may have seen suspicious activity. 

Rush said she encouraged students to take action when they notice such occurrences of vandalism. 

“We will not stand for any type of hatred against any group,” she said. “See something, say something — particularly if it’s against a particular demographic. Don’t get physically involved, but immediately report it to Penn Police.” 

McDonald agreed, adding that she doesn’t condone such incidents. 

“I just wanted to acknowledge what happened and make sure that the residents in our building know where we stand in our community and know what is expected in our community,” she said. 

Senior reporter Aliza Ohnouna contributed reporting to this article.