CHICAGO — Two Chicago-area university students are facing criminal charges after they allegedly spray-painted the campus chapel with offensive hate slurs and vulgar imagery on the walls, along with the word “Trump.”
Freshmen Anthony Morales, 19, and Matthew Kafker, 18, are accused of entering Northwestern University’s Alice Millar Chapel on Thursday night and vandalizing the hallway and stairwell.
According to reports, the two painted profanity and a racist slur with a swastika on the chapel hallway, wrote “fag” on another wall and painted over photographs of Muslim students.
Morales and Kafker also painted images of male reproductive organs in several other locations, including above the word “God” and on the Jeanne Vail Chapel organ. In the stairwell, they wrote the word “Trump.”
Officials found the vandalism the following morning and contacted a university dean.
“It’s disturbing to think that someone who’s been in this space would be venting some sort of rage that way,” university chaplain Tim Stevens told the New York Daily News. “I feel bad for them that they can’t handle it in a more productive way.”
Police reviewed the chapel’s surveillance video to identify the suspects. According to reports, Morales and Kafker admitted to the crime after being taken into custody.
The teens were charged with criminal damage to property, institutional vandalism and the commission of a hate crime for desecrating a house of worship. They were released on Saturday after 10 percent was posted of their $50,000 bail.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Judge Peggy Chiampas sharply rebuked Morales and Kafker during their bond hearing.
“These allegations are disgusting to me,” she declared.
University President Morton Shapiro also issued a statement condemning the vandalism, which he called “abhorrent.”
“This disgusting act of hatred violates the deepest values and core commitments of our university and is an affront to us all,” he stated.
Most of the graffiti has been removed, and the remainder will be tackled on Monday or Tuesday. Morales and Kafker have been placed on interim suspension, meaning that they are temporarily banned from the campus.