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UNH student charged with damaging art installed in support of those affected by recent racial tension

Staff Report
May 17. 2017 8:36PM

Shaan William DeJong 

DURHAM — Campus police at the University of New Hampshire say a student from Hooksett has been arrested, accused of damaging artwork outside a residence hall.

UNH Police Chief Paul Dean said in a news release that Shaan William DeJong, 19, of Hooksett, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with criminal mischief for damaging outdoor artwork in front of Stoke Hall.

Dean said students developed the artwork — a sculpture of a fist — in support of community members affected by recent racial tension on campus.

Earlier this month, Danique Montique, a political science major from Laconia who is black, took exception to her classmates wearing sombreros and ponchos during Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

She posted photos and videos on Facebook, saying she was "disgusted with students who chose to demean and appropriate Mexican culture."

Last Thursday night, school officials held a forum on campus to address racial concerns.

On Friday, swastikas were discovered in a stairwell at Stoke Hall, the largest dorm on campus. Someone threw a rock at a person of color who was riding his bicycle near Congreve Hall on Saturday, according to Dean. On Sunday, the word "N-----" was found scrawled in pencil on a display outside a staff member's door inside Williamson Hall.

DeJong was released on personal recognizance bail, and is due back in court July 13.

Anyone with additional information is asked to contact UNH Police at 603-862-1427.

In February, DeJong was among 15 people arrested, 12 of them students enrolled at UNH, on criminal mischief charges in connection with the destruction of three vehicles in downtown Durham after the New England Patriots' overtime win in Super Bowl LI.

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