Author: Emily Phillips
Early last Monday morning, the day before the election, Jake Santelli (junior) and Sean Inoue (senior) woke to find the front of their house vandalized with a derogatory term in black spray-paint. Seniors Jessica Nizar and Alexa Eubank also found their house marked with the paint. The word “FAGS” was written on the front of both houses in large black letters. Inoue’s No on Prop 8 yard sign was also defaced, baring the word “YES” in white spray-paint.
These students expressed their opinion on the heavily debated California Proposition 8 by displaying No on Prop 8 yard and window signs at their neighboring off-campus homes on Alumni Ave. These signs had been visible from the street for weeks, the students said.
Inoue and Santelli guess that the crime occurred sometime between midnight Sunday and 9:00 a.m. Monday morning. They suspect that it was probably committed by one or more local teenagers, not another Oxy student. Several Oxy students proposed that the intensity of the proposition, along with its suspected drastic consequences for people on both sides of the argument may have caused the Yes on Prop 8 supporter(s) to vandalize the students’ homes.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Prop 8, the California Marriage Protection Act, was one of the most talked about issues this election in California. While the contest was close, Prop 8 passed by a 52% to 48% margin on November 4, making a California State amendment to ban same-sex marriage
“I was initially angry, then disgusted,” Inoue said of his reaction to the crime. “I feel like this is going to cause a lot of anger in the community of people who are supporters of human rights,” he said.
“It was such a clear reflection of the injustice and hate that the debate surrounding Prop 8 has amplified recently,” Eubank said.
A police report was filed and the LAPD officer who spoke with Santelli labeled it as a hate crime because of the derogatory term used on both houses.
“It disgusted me that someone would ever think something like this,” Nizar told Fox 11 News.
“I think we all thought it was important to make the story more public so that people who weren’t sure how they felt about Prop 8, or were leaning toward voting yes the next day, could see that the real issue at hand is about standing up for human rights and equality,” Eubank said.
Nizar and Eubank’s house has several surveillance cameras and their landlord is in the process of reviewing the tapes in order to identify a culprit. So far, no one has been identified by the police. In the mean time, paint and signs have served to cover the hateful word.
Sonia Eddings Brown with the Yes on 8 campaign said that No on 8 supporters were not the only ones who experienced insults and vandalism. In her interview with Fox 11 News, she reported that her grassroots workers faced harassment and residents lost a total of 300,000 Yes on Prop 8 yard signs. According to Campus Safety’s Crime Statistics, from 2005 to 2007, four hate crimes were reported and occurred at both on and off campus residences. All of them were related to sexual orientation or gender.
“I hope that when people see the graffiti, they can see how disgusting it is when we discriminate,” Inoue said. “To defile someone’s home, someone you have never met, is something that requires a lot of harbored hatred.”
“I don’t really think this particular incident brings into question the safety of the neighborhood as much as it serves as a reminder of how much work we all have ahead of us to create a society where we act with respect, equality, and love toward one other,” Eubank said.
The news report and interview of Oxy students conducted by Fox 11 News can be found at http://www.myfoxla.com.
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