Mural on University of Iowa campus vandalized with swastika - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mural on University of Iowa campus vandalized with swastika

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A swastika was carved into an University of Iowa mural designed to represent the National Pan-Hellenic Council, it's artists said.

"It was with a pencil and they deliberately like etched it in so I had to come in after the fact. I had a couple tools and I had to scrape all the way to the concrete of the wall and remove all the paint," Anthonie Perla said.

The National Pan-Hellenic Council is the coordinating body of the nine historically African American fraternities and sororities.

The mural, which sits in the on-campus pedestrian tunnels, is part of a student government initiative that supplies undergrad students to paint public murals. This year's theme was to represent the underrepresented at the university.

Melissa Ortiz is a sophomore at Iowa and though she is Hispanic, she chose to design a sketch depicting the NPHC. She says she became familiar with it after her roommate joined one of the chapters.

"I definitely feel like people don't realize their presence and I think through this, they're big enough to tell people 'Hey, we are here," Ortiz said.

For two weeks, she's been working on the mural with the help of Perla. She says sometime Wednesday night a swastika was carved into the shoulder of the Alpha Kappa Alpha picture.

"I was so angry. I was just so, so, so angry because why? Like why would you do that?" she asked.

She says it wasn't until the color was added to the skin that it happened.

Perla, a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, said he came across the mural and immediately wanted to be help. On top of painting the mural, he worked as a liaison with Melissa and the chapters on how they wanted to be depicted.

He, like Melissa, doesn't understand why this happened, though he said he wasn't necessarily shocked by it.

"My biggest question is why? Like it was racially motivated. Why? If it wasn't racially motivated, even like more why? Why would you even waste your time to even do this just to mess with someone. There's no reason for you to have done this," Perla said.

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