Man accused of vandalizing UF Institute of Black Culture sign

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A 27-year-old man is facing charges for vandalizing the sign outside the UF Institute of Black Culture. 

UFPD was notified of the destruction of the sign at 1510 W University Ave. and saw Marvelle Blair on video surveillance uprooting it, according to university police.

Police arrested him Thursday night on charges of criminal mischief, trespass after warning and assault on a law enforcement officer. 

While Blair, who is Black, is not affiliated with the university, police said he is known in the department. He was issued two trespass warnings on Sept 3, 2021, and Oct. 20, 2021, that banned him from campus for three years, according to police.

He was charged with criminal mischief twice for vandalizing the sign in May 2021 and November 2021, according to police.

In May 2021, Blair was seen on surveillance video kicking the sign trying to knock it down causing $100 worth of damage. In November 2021, he was charged with trespassing and criminal mischief after he was seen again on video surveillance uprooting the sign.

He was found guilty in June for both incidents, according to court records.

Blair could not be reached for comment. He is in the Alachua County Jail where the sheriff’s office does not permit detainees to speak with news organizations without the signed consent of a defense lawyer and a senior jail official.

This is the second incident in recent weeks involving vandalism of signs or monuments related to UF’s Black community. The vandalism of the National Pan-Hellenic Council Garden is still being investigated after someone damaged four of the markers by removing Greek letters from their plaques. 

Police do not believe the incidents are related.

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This is a breaking news story. Check back for further developments. Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org

About Alexa Herrera

Alexa is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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