PURCHASE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Westchester District Attorney’s Office has launched an investigation after symbols of hate were discovered on the SUNY Purchase campus.

Depictions of a swastika and nooses were found drawn on the walls of three campus dormitories in the last week.

“These crimes are reprehensible and unacceptable,” President Thomas Schwarz said in a statement. “I speak for the community in condemning this invasive, racist and sick behavior.”

The Bias Crimes Unit of the Westchester District Attorney’s Office and the New York State University Police are investigating, Schwarz said.

Those responsible could face hate crime charges, carrying a penalty of one to three years in prison.

“We would like to find the perpetrator or perpetrators,” said Dennis Craig, a vice president at SUNY Purchase.

The vandals keep targeting the Farside dorm, striking twice in just the last few days, CBS2’s Ilana Gold reported. Police are guarding the dorm.

Law enforcement sources say they have some good evidence, but are upset that two of the swastikas were painted over before crime scene technician could get to the school, CBS2’s Lou Young reported.

Students and staff were shocked.

“I can’t believe that someone on this campus could be so hateful,” freshman Gaby Scelzo told Gold.

“I’m upset, this is not the school that I signed up for,” said senior Emma. “This is one of the most horrible things that has ever happened on this campus ever in my four years here.”

“It’s very diverse, it’s very tolerant, but it’s not tolerant of things like this,” political science professor Peter Schwab said. “I think it’s outrageous, it’s a terrible thing.”

“I can only imagine how offensive it is,” student Brandon Ocasio told Gold.

“I’m just a little shocked that this happened here, especially because everybody comes from everywhere, different types of lifestyles but I guess it shouldn’t surprise me,” said Mrs. Riley who has worked at the school for years.

One of the swastikas was sketched on the door of two students.

“He was pretty upset, he’s half black, and his roommate’s Jewish,” said student Kaleo Breeckner. “They were pretty offended, and they felt like it was a personal attack.”

Campus police have stepped up patrols at the affected residence halls.

“I think it’s, like, crazy, because it’s 2015. I thought people were accepting people by now,” said student Ashley Harseim.

A campus wide forum is planned to update students and staff and to stress the school’s zero tolerance for hate, 1010 WINS’ Derricke Dennis reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call 914-251-6868 or submit tips online here.

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