COLUMBIA, Mo., Feb. 14 (UPI) -- An 18-year-old University of Missouri-Columbia student who allegedly sprayed racist graffiti on school property could be prosecuted for a hate crime.
Benjamin A. Elliot is charged with second-degree felony property damage for allegedly spray-painting graffiti that included the N-word on a sculpture in front of the school's Hatch Hall, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The case could be prosecuted as a hate crime, which would mean he would face stiffer penalties if convicted, the newspaper said.
Another student discovered the graffiti Saturday morning. Elliot was arrested that evening and released after posting a $4,500 bond.
University Chancellor Brady Deaton said he was "dismayed and deeply offended" by the incident.
Two students were charged with littering for spreading cotton balls across the lawn of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center last February.