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Justin Sellers/The Clarion-Ledger
A 2017 incident at Millsaps College involving profanity-laced graffiti is back under investigation after additional photos surfaced that showed the graffiti was larger and more vulgar than previously known, said Millsaps President Robert W. Pearigen.
One photo shows profanity directed at President Donald Trump.
At the end of the spring semester last year, a group of students wrote and drew on the walls of several rooms in the Christian Center, a building that was scheduled for major renovations. Pearigen described much of the graffiti as vulgar.
Pearigen said in a statement that a few faculty members were present during some of the activity and joined in a group photo in one of the defaced areas. Disciplinary processes were taken against the students and faculty involved, he said. The disciplinary process is confidential, he said, but.the administration said it believes that appropriate actions were taken.
Contacted earlier this week, John Sewell, director of communications and marketing at Millsaps, issued a statement that “Defamation of character or destruction of property is unacceptable at Millsaps College. The administration found this incident to be offensive, hurtful, and contrary to our values of encouraging civil and respectful discourse between disparate points of view, and subsequently took swift action to address it.”
Additional information surfaced recently, including photos that were not known to those conducting the investigations last spring, Pearigen said in his statement. In addition to identifying individuals involved, the new photos reveal that the graffiti expanded and became more vulgar and insulting over the course of several days. He said he was told that some individuals in the early photos were not involved or aware of the “progressively shameful words and depictions” on the walls.
Pearigen has asked both the provost and dean of students to review the incident and advise him on a way forward by the end of next week.
“This situation is enormously disappointing and disheartening to me and to many, many others,” Pearigen said in his statement.
He apologized to people who were offended by the incident.
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