MADISON, Wis. — Multiple landmarks on the UW-Madison campus — including Memorial Union — were seemingly vandalized overnight with messages protesting a conservative commentator who was set to speak on campus Monday night.
A News 3 Now photographer captured images of graffiti spray-painted onto the front of the Union, a sign at Alumni Park and multiple Bucky Badger statues in the area. News 3 Now has reached out to the UW-Madison Police Department to learn more about the incident.
In a statement, UWPD spokesperson Marc Lovicott said the department was investigating the vandalism.
The messages appear to be critical of conservative commentator Matt Walsh, who is scheduled to appear on campus Monday night for a screening of his film “What is A Woman?”. The film has been criticized for being transphobic.
Walsh is being hosted by Young America’s Foundation, a group that calls itself “the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement.” Former Wisconsin governor Scott Walker was elected president of the group last year.
YAF organized a tour this year for Walsh to screen his film at multiple college campuses across America. The screenings have drawn protests at the University of Illinois and the University of Houston.
Lovicott did not confirm specific details about whether there will be increased security for Walsh’s event following the vandalism, but did say UWPD’s plans “are in-line with similar politically-charged events that are hosted on campus.”
Walsh has described himself as a theocratic fascist and has come under fire for his comments made about trans people. In September, he and the Twitter account “Libs of TikTok” began criticizing a hospital in Nashville for providing gender-affirming services to minors.
“Libs of TikTok,” which is run by a former Brooklyn real estate agent named Chaya Raichik, also targeted a hospital at Boston University in August. That hospital was later evacuated because of a bomb threat.
Raichik targeted UW Health’s gender services programs last month, and Walsh spread her accusations on Twitter. Madison police launched an investigation and found the posts didn’t lead to direct security threats against the health care system.