Northwestern University Faces Second Swastika Graffiti Attack This Week
A large swastika was found scrawled on the wall of a study lounge at Northwestern University’s library on Wednesday, marking the second case of antisemitic vandalism to take place at the university in under a week.
The swastika was quickly removed after authorities took pictures and filed a police report at the university, Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, director of the Tannenbaum Chabad House at Northwestern University, told The Algemeiner.
“I heard back from student leaders saying they are pretty upset and disappointed that these types of symbols are going up,” he said. “They are also upset about the epithet against the African American community that took place here at Northwestern… which is a strong community that tries to work together.”
He added, “It doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with each other politically or socially but what’s important to remember is that we’re still one community and these types of epithets and symbols that are painful and harmful and hurtful have no place here at Northwestern.”
On Saturday, April 11, a swastika and slurs about African Americans was found spray painted on a wall in the school library. University police quickly removed the defacement and launched an investigation into the incident, treating it as a hate crime. Rabbi Klein said the incident was “especially hurtful” since it happened only a few days before Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“It is deeply saddening to know that hatred still exists, and even on our own campus,” he said. “As Jews, our response to events like these has always been to continue to increase the light of our legacy, our people, and our Torah. We hope to only intensify our activities on campus, and to express our pride of our heritage and of our culture.”
Klein believes the two antisemitic graffiti attacks this week could have been inspired by the Northwestern University student government passing legislation that calls on the school to divest from six companies that do business in Israel. He said that often after such votes, antisemitic activity is seen taking place on campus. The vote took place right before the university’s spring break, which ended this week.
Klein hopes the person responsible for both graffiti attacks comes forward and apologizes for the hate crime.
“We hope that the student, the person – we don’t know if it was a student – but the person that actually put up the symbols, it would be wonderful if that person would come forward and apologize to both the black and Jewish community,” he said.