Arizona State University police said they arrested an individual related to a destroyed Quran and other damage in the Hayden Library on the Tempe campus.
Wesley Waggoner, 37, was arrested and charged with criminal damage “for causing significant damage to library property, including a Quran from the interfaith reflection area,” according to a Friday morning police statement.
“Laborious police work, thorough investigating and cognizance from the library staff is what brought this incident to a quick resolution,” ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson said in a statement.
The Muslim Students Association of ASU had publicized the incident on social media Wednesday evening, calling it a hate crime and urging ASU to investigate and hold whoever is responsible to account.
Photos posted to the group’s Instagram page show what appear to be burned and torn up Quran and Islamic literature pages, as well as a damaged wall. The room is one where many Muslim students go to pray, according to the student group.
“There should be zero tolerance for any actions of hatred on campus,” the Muslim Students Association’s statement said. “The safety concerns of the Muslim students on campus cannot go unheard or unattended.”
Sasha Uddin, education director for the Muslim Students Association, said her group is grateful to ASU police for making the investigation a priority, with an arrest made the day after the incident was reported.
“We want to move forward with peace and also making sure we do ensure security for anyone who decides they’d like to go into the Interfaith Reflection Room,” she said.
The ASU Police Department confirmed Thursday that it was investigating reported criminal damage in the library’s Interfaith Reflection Room after being notified of property and facilities damage.
Waggoner was arrested at around 8 p.m. Thursday after Hayden Library staff reported further damage to library property, according to police. Police officers linked Waggoner to Wednesday’s incident using surveillance footage.
Thompson, the police chief, said in a statement that police were still investigating the “circumstances and reasoning” around the destructive actions.
“There is no room or tolerance at ASU for this type of damaging behavior,” he said.
In addition to criminal damage, Waggoner was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, and police said he had methamphetamine on him. He also had two confirmed warrants, according to ASU police.
Uddin, the student leader in the Muslim Students Association, said they are focusing on forgiveness.
“We don’t want to make any hasty generalizations towards the person who committed the crime and towards ASU in general.”
There was a slight uptick in hate crimes reported on campuses in 2020, with two at the University of Arizona, one at Northern Arizona University and one at Grand Canyon University.
ASU reported no on-campus hate crimes last year and none in 2019 or 2018.