Students and community members in Boone are speaking out against anti-Semitic imagery found in a tunnel on the campus of Appalachian State University.

The pedestrian tunnels underneath Rivers Street are a place for self-expression, where spontaneous art can be used to make a positive statement.

But over the weekend, a group of students found a different kind of message - a red flag painted with a swastika and writing nearby that included the words “heil Hitler.”

Appalachian's student government issued a statement through its director of social sustainability, Gaby Romero, saying the tunnels were not there to cultivate a culture of hate.

The Watauga NAACP also denounced the graffiti. Hillel, a student Jewish community organization, issued a statement saying the words and images are hurtful to Jews and non-Jews alike and denigrate the memory of the millions who died in the Holocaust.  

University officials have investigated the vandalism but don't know at this point who did it.

The picture and words have since been painted over.

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