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Hoax? Iowa State ‘racist graffiti’ police report lacks witnesses, photos, description


Police closed investigation

A police report recently obtained by The College Fix is light on details but confidently says that the university found “racist graffiti” in a residence hall.

The Fix obtained the police report on December 1 through a public records request.

The sparse document from Iowa State University police said that it investigated after a student “electroniacally [sic] reported racist graffiti on a dry erase board.”

“The dry erase board was on the 3rd floor den of the Starbucks house of Martin Hall [a dorm building],” the report said. The incident occurred on October 1. The official document does not contain any photos of the graffiti or describe what had been written on the whiteboard.

“There are no photographs available for this incident,” Elizabeth Morse, a staffer with the campus police department, confirmed to The Fix on December 13.

Police were called after residence life staffer Casey Dworzynski reported the content after a student reported it to him. But that student, Zachary Komanapalli, never saw the graffiti for himself. The drawings were erased by the time law enforcement arrived.

He just heard from someone else that “one of the drawings was defaced to depict a KKK rally crucifying a black man and that being symbolic of like a colored-in Among Us character to be completely black with the words #whitesupremacy written on the board,” according to the Iowa State Daily.

The campus paper reported that the police closed the investigation and it is likely a student’s guest who allegedly made the drawing.

Komanapalli did not respond to a College Fix email sent on December 1. Dworzynski did not respond to an email on December 1 that asked if he knew the race of who made the drawings and if he could share photos of the graffiti.

Spokesperson Jenny Pollard with the Department of Residence Life did not respond to the same questions in the past week either. The Fix attempted to call Dworzynski but the number listed did not work.

Despite never seeing the drawing himself, Komanapalli gave a speech about how it affected him personally.

Non-witness said it reminds him of other ‘white silence’ instances

“In dealing with this conflict, I have found a number of initial reactions likening the words to, at worst ‘a joke,’ and the ever so milder ‘joke in bad taste,” Komanapalli said at a house meeting after the police closed the investigation.

He said that the whiteboard drawing, which again he never actually saw, reminded him of other instances of “white silence.”

“But to my friends here from historically marginalized communities, the static indifference of many to such attempts at ‘humor’ rings hollow with the echoes of white silence in the wake of atrocities of the past,” Komanapalli said.

“So, among my whiter colleagues, my colleagues that are normally not subjected to racial prejudice, they chalked it up to, ‘Don’t you think that’s a bit of an overreaction,’” the student said.

White people need to do more, he reportedly told the Iowa State Daily.

“Komanapalli continued to say that when incidents like this are considered nothing but a joke, that makes discriminated communities feel invalidated,” the campus paper reported. “He said that while society as a whole has come a long way in the fight for racial and cultural equality, there is still a long way to go.”

MORE: Hoax? Black activist, ASU give conflicting answers on graffiti investigation

Editor’s note: The article has been updated with comment from the police department, confirming there are no photos of the incident.

IMAGE: EQ Roy / Shutterstock

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.