Tulane University Police Department arrested a male student early Thursday who is accused of spray painting a pro-Palestine message on a wall on Freret Street across from Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, according to a police report.
Police first responded to Freret Street Wednesday morning after a student spray painted a message that read “From the river to the sea” on a brick wall across from the library, the report said. “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” is a common pro-Palestinian chant that many Jews view as an attack on Israel’s right to exist as a state.
Tulane facilities had painted over the graffiti by Thursday morning.
The student, who is not named in the report, told police the message was not intended to be antisemitic, the report said.
President Mike Fitts said Thursday evening the act was “antisemitic vandalism.” TUPD charged the student with criminal damage to property and initially listed the case as “bias motivation.”
Police arrested the student at 1:28 a.m. Thursday, the report said. He was transported to Orleans Parish Central Lockup.
In a joint message to all students on Wednesday night, President Mike Fitts, Provost Robin Forman and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Norton said the school stands firmly against graffiti and vandalism.
“Tulane celebrates free speech and supports peaceful protest, but we will not tolerate any threats to the safety and security of our Tulane community,” the email said.
Students reported concerns about safety on campus after the graffiti statement appeared, the email said.