MLK Plaza

Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.

The Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County, Downtown State College Improvement District, State College Borough and Penn State issued a collective statement in a press release denouncing the vandalism of the Martin Luther King Jr. mural at 131 South Fraser St. on April 16.

The image of King was allegedly stenciled with the words "PATRIOTFRONT.US" in a red substance with an insignia below. The State College Police Department also opened a hate crime investigation following the defacing.

A silent vigil was held at the plaza Sunday following the vandalism of the memorial with imagery of a white supremacist group.

"As leaders of our respective organizations and as individuals, we are dedicated to building a better quality of life and ensuring positive experiences for everyone who lives here and visits here," Fritz Smith, the president and CEO of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, said.

Additionally, the Centre County Board of Commissioners condemned the vandalism of the memorial.

"These cowardly acts go against what this community celebrates: diversity, inclusion, equity and justice," a statement from the Board read. "We encourage all residents to reflect upon the words Dr. King spoke 56 years ago during his visit to Penn State campus—the reason behind the Plaza's creation—to appreciate the progress we made but, more importantly, the distance we still have to travel."

Penn State President Eric Barron also condemned the defacing.

"We are all appalled by this act of hate in our community," Barron said. "This vandalism has occurred during a time of ongoing discord and violence in our country, and as university and local community members, we must continue to do all we can to speak out against such hate and stand up against inequality and injustice."

Barron directed people who need support after the vandalism to reach out to the Office of Educational Equity, Counseling and Psychological Services, Penn State Hotline, and Employee Assistance Program.

SCPD is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest or conviction related to this case. Police ask anyone who may have information to contact them at 814-234-7150.

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Oliver Ferguson is an administration and Greek life/THON reporter for The Daily Collegian. He is a freshman studying political science.