ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Roanoke County police are investigating a possible hate crime after someone painted a swastika on a popular landmark at Hollins University. It was discovered early Sunday morning and on Monday, students and faculty gathered to send a powerful message to whoever committed the crime.
Crowds gathered for a "Love Not Hate" event in response to the swastika painted near the entrance of campus.
"It kind of disgusted me because who would do something like that," said Sunny Cushing-Spiller, a Hollins student.
University security said shortly after "The Rock," a beloved landmark on campus, was found defaced, students painted over the symbol of hate. They covered it with the words "Take Back the Rock".
During Monday's event, the community used sidewall chalk to write positive messages around campus.
"Words like peace, love, and equality," said Yolande Mokube, a Hollins sophomore. "Things that will allow people on campus to understand that we are all one."
Together, people on campus want to promote inclusiveness. They said the shameful actions of others won't divide the campus.
"We want to show that the power of love is stronger than hate and whatever individual created this heinous crime we want them to know that will not define us as a community" said Jenny Call, the Hollins University chaplain. "We are defined by our love and support for one another."
Organizers hope the encouraging words and illustrations drawn throughout campus help all students see Hollins University as a welcoming place for everyone.