Top officials of Villanova University are investigating four incidents of racially charged graffiti that have shown up in on-campus residence halls for the past week.

"Personally, to me, it is very upsetting, and I think that many people in the university share my sentiments on that," the Rev. Peter Donahue, O.S.A, president of Villanova University, said yesterday.

"We here at the university live by Gospel values, and this is in no way, shape or form one of them," he added.

According to Ann Diebold, spokeswoman for the Catholic Augustinian University, the first incident happened April 19 in Moriarty Hall.

"It was towards the end of the semester and students in the hall were writing their experiences of the past semester," Diebold said.

"Two people, who later came forward, wrote derogatory remarks of anti-African-American sentiment about a custodial-staff member," Diebold added.

Those two students, who expressed remorse for their actions, are being dealt with by the dean of students, the university said.

The second incident, Diebold said, occurred a day later inside Sullivan Hall. The incident - which she said was unrelated to the first one - involved a drawing of a swastika on the wall.

The third incident took university officials on April 21 to In Good Counsel Hall, where a wall-mounted memo board had anti-black sentiments scrawled on it.

"As with all of the other incidents, once these writings were found, they were taken down immediately," Diebold said."The university is actively looking and meeting with people, but an act like this is of such a cowardly nature that it makes finding out who exactly is responsible a very challenging task," Diebold said of the university's efforts to punish those responsible.

The fourth incident, Diebold said, again happened in Sullivan Hall on Monday inside a first-floor bathroom. Diebold did not have any details about that incident.

"The university has lots of programs in place to try and make people feel welcome," Diebold said.

"Incidents like this are very troubling and the university is taking them very seriously."

According to Collegeboard. com, Villanova has approximately 7,254 undergraduates. Diebold said 15 percent of them are of diverse minorities.

Collegeboard.com goes on to list 1,638 freshman, 20 percent of whom Diebold says are of diverse minorities.

However, it says only 4 percent of the 1,638 freshman are African-American. *