Human Rights Group ‘Alarmed’ by ‘Hostile Environment for Jews’ at Mizzou, After ‘Hitler Rules!’ Graffiti Found in Dorm
A major Jewish Human Rights organization has written the University of Missouri (Mizzou) to express its concern over “the alarming frequency of antisemitism” on its Columbia campus, The Algemeiner has learned. Multiple incidents, the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) wrote Wednesday, have “created an unarguably hostile environment for Jewish students,” and the university “must do much more to ensure the safety of Jewish university students, faculty, and staff.”
The university has not yet responded to its letter, SWC told The Algemeiner on Thursday. But it did release a general statement after the discovery, Monday, that someone had written “Hitler Rules!” on a flier in a residence hall. As The Kansas City Star reported, interim University Chancellor Hank Foley stated on Tuesday:
We are angry to hear about yet another antisemitic incident in one of our residence halls over the weekend. This type of vandalism attacks everyone. Our core values — including that of Respect — must become more than words on paper or a banner.
This incident follows at least two similar ones at the university. Last October, a swastika drawn in feces was found on the bathroom wall in the same residence, and in April 2015, swastikas and antisemitic slogans were discovered in a dormitory stairwell. A freshman was arrested for vandalism for the April 2015 incident, but no one has been charged in the others.
The university’s Jewish Student Organization also released a statement Tuesday, saying, in part:
The Jewish Student Organization strongly condemns this expression of hatred … This type of hate speech isn’t merely an attack on religious minorities; it also targets other cultural and ethnic groups. This act occurred in a residence hall, a place students call home. Home should be a haven where people feel safe from hatred.
According to the Kansas City Star, Monday’s incident was reported to the MU police, which said it is being investigated as a rules-and-regulations violation.
The SWC told The Algemeiner that it does not consider this incident to be part of the broader issue of free speech — referring to discussion that ensued in the aftermath of an Oberlin professor’s antisemitic Facebook posts, reported this week by The Algemeiner. Rather, “This was arguably a hate crime, and should be investigated specifically as such.”