Littlefield Fountain on the University of Texas campus is a landmark gathering spot at the entrance of the college’s South Mall.
That’s why it was so jarring to see the words scrawled in bright red Thursday morning on one of its walls.
“This is the blood of survivors that UT ignores,” read the graffiti next to an oversized image of a sickle and hammer, according to the Austin American Statesman.
The University of Texas Police Department initially said that runoff from the red graffiti on one wall behind the fountain is what turned the water purple.
But a police spokeswoman told the Daily Texan that maintenance crews found two spots in the water where it appeared that purple dye had been poured into the fountain.
Purple is the preferred color for International Women’s Day, which was founded when more than 15,000 women marched in New York to demand better working conditions more than 100 years sago and was observed this year on Thursday, March 8, according to Fortune.
But what could the actual correlation be between International Women’s Day and the perpetrators of the most recent vandalism on the traditionally liberal campus in one of the country’s most conservative states?
Similar graffiti has been spray-painted on campus as recently as February, when a similar sickle-and-hammer image was placed next to the words, “UT harbors abusers” and “Watch your back, Richard” near the university’s pharmacy building, according to KXAN.
That name is in reference to pharmacy professor Richard Morrisett, who recently pleaded guilty to a 2016 domestic assault charge. Morrisett remained in his position during the spring 2018 semester, though a “Rally to Run Off Morrisett,” organized by a group called the Revolutionary Student Front, was held on campus Feb. 13, according to the Texan.
The Revolutionary Student Front calls itself “an organization for revolutionary anti-capitalist students in Austin, Texas,” on its Facebook page. The sickle and hammer are part of all the group’s messaging.
The same group has claimed responsibility for the latest graffiti and dye-job at Littlefield Fountain, according to one reporter for the university newspaper.