One of the portraits of Harvard Law School’s black professors that was defaced
WCVB screenshot

Photos of Harvard Law School's black professors hanging up at the school were apparently targeted by an unidentified vandal early Thursday, and now the incident is being investigated as a hate crime, according to law-school Dean Martha Minow, WCVB reports

Black tape was reportedly placed over the pictures of black professors—apparently only the black professors—outside a lecture hall at the famous law school. According to the news station, an estimated six portraits were vandalized. The tape has since been removed. 

Officials at the university say that it is unclear whether there's a connection between the defacement and a rally held on campus Wednesday to denounce institutionalized racism across the nation as part of #StudentBlackOut.

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"Expressions of hatred are abhorrent, whether they be directed at race, sex, sexual preference, gender identity, religion or other targets of bigotry," Minow said.

The negativity was quickly reversed, however, and the portraits were decorated with messages of love and support, including tributes like "amazing professor, mentor and role model," and "you are brilliant and loved."

"I think it's beautiful to see so many examples of love and collective uplift right now," Harvard senior Cary Williams said.

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Students did tell the news station, however, that they thought the school was too slow to respond to the vandalism and that it was, in fact, students who pressured administrators to talk about the incident.

"I also think it's important to show students of color and everyone in the community that acts of hatred and expressions of racism won't go unresponded to," Harvard junior Mira Chernick told the news station.

Read more at WCVB.