Harvard University’s iconic statue of its namesake was vandalized with the words “devil worship,” school officials said.
The graffiti was scrawled in spray paint along the base of the John Harvard statue in Cambridge’s Harvard Yard and first reported to university police early Saturday, a spokesman told NBC Boston.
The bronze likeness, which was unveiled in 1884, honors the university’s first benefactor, John Harvard, and is one of the most well-known landmarks on campus, the station reported.
The graffiti was covered up by wood later Saturday and an investigation into the incident is ongoing, university police told the station.
A student at the school, meanwhile, shared a photo on social media of the offending graffiti early Saturday before it was covered up.
“WHEW what a morning in the Yard,” Chance Bonar tweeted.
The sculpture, according to university officials, is known by some on campus as the “statue of three lies” due to inaccuracies inscribed on it, including that its likeness is not actually that of John Harvard but of a man who sat as a model for Harvard’s head.
An engraving on the statue also describes John Harvard as the university’s founder, but that’s incorrect as well, university officials said.
“Actually, Harvard didn’t even attend the college,” a university website reads. “He was the first major benefactor to the university. He donated half of his estate and his library, which consisted of over 400 books.”
Harvard also wasn’t founded in 1638, as the statue claims, but rather in 1636, university officials said.
“This gives Harvard the honor of being the oldest institution of higher education in the United States,” the website reads. “Harvard was originally called the New College. And its mission was to train clergy.”
A Harvard spokesperson confirmed the vandalism Monday in a statement to The Post, but declined further comment, citing an ongoing university police investigation.
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