Ottawa Police say graffiti is isolated, no similar incidents recently

On Sept. 24, Chitta Chowdhury, a first-year political science student at the University of Ottawa found the symbol of a hate group spray-painted outside the Happy Goat Coffee Shop on Wilbrod St.

“I was very shocked and upset,” said Chowdhury. “Considering that this happened so close to campus and in an area that’s largely student housing, it’s not unlikely that a student did this.”

“Hate graffiti” is the term used to describe graffiti that is motivated by hate, bias or prejudice, based on race, nationality, ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other unique identity.  

Chowdhury said that the graffiti made her worried that it might not have been carried out by a single person. She fears that the graffiti was planned by a group of individuals, and worse yet— potentially a group of students.

“The fact that there are people, presumably U of O students, who identify with white supremacy is really frightening as a person of colour,” she said. “I do feel a lot less safe on campus now. As a first year student, the U of O is already fairly new to me and seeing a swastika spray-painted on a street so close to campus within the first month of moving to this city and attending university really made me question whether or not I am safe here.”

In response to the incident, Ottawa Police said that they currently do not have any leads. However, they believe it to be an isolated event, and that there is not a strong history of these types of actions occurring near the university, and that they have not received any other complaints in the area.

“This hate graffiti is so very upsetting and offensive,” says Deborah Landry, a replacement  professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the U of O, who specializes in municipal bylaws that regulate graffiti in the City of Ottawa.

Landry’s advice to any students who may find graffiti of this nature is to call police services immediately.

The Ottawa Police have also stressed that any person who comes across this type of graffiti near campus or elsewhere should call 3-1-1. Due to the sensitive nature of hate graffiti, these requests may not be submitted online.