Of the small number of instances of alleged bad behavior that forms the basis for the frenzy at the University of Missouri, one stands out: the claim that someone drew a swastika out of feces on a restroom door in a dormitory. Any swastika is deeply offensive, of course, though the drawing of one hardly reflects the “systematic oppression” that hysterical students say exists at their school.
But there’s a threshold question here: did the feces swastika exist?
Sean Davis of The Federalist thinks it might be a hoax:
According to Billy Donley, the president of Mizzou’s Residence Halls Association (RHA), the poop swastika was reported at approximately 2:00 a.m. on October 24, 2015.
“On Saturday, October 24th, at 2:00am an individual came into one of the restrooms in Gateway Hall and drew a swastika on the wall with their own feces,” Donley wrote in a letter several days after the alleged incident. “This event happened while many students, including myself, were already asleep.”
Later in his letter, Donley noted that he only found out about the alleged vandalism incident “via a flyer posted on the walls” of the dorm.
Obviously, the flyer standing alone isn’t good evidence of the swastika, so Davis probed further:
Although Donley did not respond to repeated requests for comment prior to publication, The Federalist spoke with two RHA staffers while trying to get in touch with Donley. Neither had personally witnessed the poop swastika. When asked if there was any photographic evidence of the alleged incident, one staffer replied, “Not to my knowledge.”
Frankie Minor, the director of residential life at Mizzou, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on whether he personally saw the poop swastika or any photographic evidence of it.
Thus, in all likelihood, Minor did not. Moreover, according to Davis, “calls to the University of Missouri Police Department, which responded to and investigated the alleged poop swastika incident, also failed to yield any evidence of the poopstika.”
Maj. Brian Weimer, the public information officer for the Mizzou police department, told The Federalist that he also did not personally see the poop swastika that was reported to police. When asked if anyone in the police department personally witnessed the swastika, Maj. Weimer clammed up and referred all questions about the incident to the university’s custodian of public records.
Thus, there is plenty of room to doubt that the police officers who investigated ever saw a swastika. If they didn’t, what happened to it? Why notify the police and then remove the evidence?
The individuals running the @ConcernedStudentsS1950 twitter account (this is the activist group leading the charge against “systematic oppression” at the University) failed to produce any photographic or documentary evidence of the incident prior to publication of the Federalist article, according to Davis.
Using Missouri public records law, The Federalist has asked the University of Missouri for copies of any and all records relating to the alleged vandalism. Until such records are produced, or other credible evidence of the incident emerges, it is fair to wonder whether the whole thing is a hoax designed to support a dubious narrative of racism and intolerance.