A portrait at Winthrop University of former South Carolina governor Ben Tillman, a Democrat, has been vandalized.

WCNC News in Charlotte reported.

Political figure’s portrait vandalized at Winthrop University

A portrait of a South Carolina political figure on the Winthrop University campus was reportedly vandalized Thursday morning.

An NBC Charlotte viewer shared a letter with us Thursday afternoon from Winthrop University president, Dr. Daniel F. Mahoney.

It read:

This morning at about 9:30 a.m. an individual wrote in red paint on Tillman Hall’s portrait of Ben Tillman, “violent racist.” The individual was seen running out of the building.

The portrait has been removed to assess the damage.

Ben Tillman was inarguably a racist, however, that fact does not justify vandalism. Campus police are conducting an investigation of the incident and anyone found responsible will be held accountable.

I am disturbed by this incident because someone acted in a manner that is contrary to the spirit of community at Winthrop. I believe the best way to move forward will come from the campus community working together in a way that is respectful and peaceful. Dr. Debra Boyd has been leading the conversation on campus regarding Tillman Hall. That inclusive dialogue will continue this fall, with the goal of identifying and acting on initiatives that reflect Winthrop’s diverse culture.

As Dr. Boyd has stated so eloquently, “We are committed to Winthrop University’s being known for taking command of a dark chapter in our past and denying it the power to divide us.”

Dr. Daniel F. Mahony

Just days ago, a Tillman statue on the South Carolina State House grounds was vandalized, also with red paint.

Tillman was a democrat, who served as Governor of South Carolina from 1890 to 1894, as well as serving as a United States Senator from 1895 until his death in 1918.