A vandal spreading the message “UNH Funds Genocide” struck Thompson Hall and the façade in front of the flagpole at the University of New Hampshire Monday night. While police have a video of the perpetrator, no suspect had been named as of late Tuesday.

“This is a sad day for UNH,” said outgoing UNH President James Dean in a message to the university community. “It is incredibly unfortunate that some feel they should damage our beautiful, historic campus to make their point.

“This action does nothing to make people more sympathetic to a cause. Instead, it unnecessarily prevents many members of our community from being able to enjoy and access a very special space at what should be a joyful time in the academic year.”

According to a UNH spokesperson, security cameras caught the unidentified perpetrator — in an oversized white sweatshirt, black pants, and a facemask — around 4 a.m., spray painting the Thompson Hall doors.

Dean and the administration have been the target of heated criticism from the anti-Israel protesters active on the Durham campus.

In a statement to NHJournal, the Palestine Solidarity Coalition at UNH (PSC) called Dean “a disgrace to academia.”

They were responding to Dean’s decision to send in the police when protesters tried to erect an encampment on the campus on May 1.

“Maybe James Dean should learn the history of May Day and student movements if he one day chooses to actually read a book. The only threat to campus safety were the cops in riot gear that James Dean invited to campus,” the PSC said.

Twelve people, including 10 students, were arrested at that protest. A week later, a small group of protesters returned to the flagpole, demanding that “all charges are dropped, that UNH fully divests [from Israel], and the resignation of Senior Vice Provost Kenneth Holmes and UNH Police Chief Paul Dean.”

The PSC and its allies have announced another protest for Wednesday, May 15, at the UNH Franklin Pierce Law School in Concord.

They are demanding “that UNH disclose, divest, and drop the charges for all students arrested at the Gaza solidarity encampment on May 1st.”

There is no evidence currently connecting the previous protests to Tuesday’s vandalism.

Some UNH students, however, see a connection.

“The vandalism shows just how extreme the pro-Palestine/anti-Israel mob is,” said UNH sophomore Sam Farrington, who waved a U.S. flag as a counter protester during last week’s anti-Israel event. “The perpetrator here is clearly trying to instill fear among UNH community members. Students are coming to realize just how radical this movement is.

“It is not about criticizing the Israeli government. This movement consists of two groups: those who are driven by hate and those who follow like sheep because they don’t have the capacity to think for themselves. The suspect deserves to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.”

Dean expressed frustration over the disconnect between events on campus and the horrors of war in the Middle East.

“It is also worth pointing out that vandalism does not help the suffering people in the region in the slightest. Instead of defacing our university, I suggest that people interested in making a positive impact make a contribution to one of the many charities providing humanitarian aid where it is needed.”

He also pledged that the vandalism would be cleaned up well before the arrival of “the 3,800 students from across the country and world who, along with their families and loved ones, will celebrate their commencement this weekend.”