Harvard Law School announced that the recent defacement of portraits of black law school professors would be investigated as a hate crime. 

“Expressions of hatred are abhorrent, whether they be directed at race, sex, sexual preference, gender identity, religion or any other targets of bigotry,” Dean Martha Minow wrote in a statement. "Here at [Harvard Law School], we are focused on efforts to improve our community, examining structures that may contribute to negative experiences of any members of our community, and pursuing opportunities where the School can both change and support change,” 

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The defacement comes at a time of tense racial atmospheres at American universities with student protests and administrative resignations. Additionally, the vandalism comes on the heels of a call to change the crest of the storied law school.

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“A group of students have organized an effort to change the law school’s crest, which is the same as the coat-of-arms of slaveholder Isaac Royall Jr., whose estate help found the school. The Royall Must Fall group describes itself as ‘a movement of students calling for the decolonization of our campus, the symbols, the curriculum and the history of Harvard Law School,’” The Washington Post reported. 

Matt Lee is a Web producer for Metro New York. He writes about almost everything and anything. Talk to him (or yell at him) on Twitter so he doesn’t feel lonely @mattlee2669.