May 11—LEWISTON — Bates College was hit Sunday with some anti-Israel graffiti and flyers that some saw as a potential hate crime.
Gwen Lexow, Bates's director of Title IX and civil rights compliance, told students in a Monday email that college officials had heard from a number of people "expressing deep concern about the impact of the language contained in the flyers and graffiti, particularly on Jewish members of our campus community."
The college contacted police, Lexow said, and its facility services members are "working to remove the graffiti."
The Lewiston Police Department was called to the scene, though its officials said later in the day they knew nothing about it, and informed the state Attorney General's Office about it as a possible hate crime.
The Attorney General's Office had little information Monday beyond the fact that it had been in touch with both Bates and Lewiston Police Department about the incident, said spokesman Marc Malon, who had no further details.
"We continue to work in conjunction with LPD to gather further information," Lexow said.
The Bates Leftist Coalition posted four photographs on Instagram early Monday depicting what appears to be slogans written in chalk on the side of at least one college building.
Among the comments written were "Free Palestine," "Stop Ethnic Cleansing" and "Israel is killing innocent people." Another says, "F*** Zionist Israel."
The coalition said it had nothing to do with the vandalism, but said it was "not an act of anti-Semitism but of anti-colonialism."
It said the college community should engage in a discussion of "the settler-colonial occupations, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide and vaccine apartheid by the Israeli government in occupied Palestine."
Lexow said "Bates is a community committed to openness, pluralism and inclusion, where every individual should feel safe and supported. Incidents of this kind can have a significant and harmful impact on those who experience them, and since the language appeared, the multi-faith chaplains have met with students individually and in groups."