Pro-Israel Candidate for Student Govt President at Trent U Loses Election Days After Swastikas Drawn Into His Name on Campus Graffiti
A candidate for student government president at Canada’s Trent University lost the election five days after antisemitic graffiti against him and his candidacy appeared on campus, The Algemeiner has learned.
Economics major Corey LeBlanc told The Algemeiner on Thursday that though he is not Jewish, he has been active in his support for Israel.
LeBlanc said that he first learned of the graffiti when photos of it were sent to him by a friend on Saturday night. Scrawled in chalk on two different walkways were the phrases “Just Not Corey” and “Anyone But Corey.”
Inside the “o” of his name in both cases was a swastika.
He immediately took to his Facebook page, saying, “Antisemitic attacks are NOT part of political discourse.” He continued:
Tonight a disturbing wave of hate crimes struck our campus. If you haven’t already seen it, walkways were vandalized in an effort to protest my campaign for President of the [student association]. The individuals responsible used disturbing symbols including a swastika to describe me. First let me say that these attacks are pathetic and are examples of the type of intolerable behavior, which is exhibited by a very small and disillusioned loud minority of extremists.
In 2013, the Trent student government passed a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution against Israel. LeBlanc founded “Trent Students for Israel,” which succeeded, in 2015, in obtaining a large majority student vote in favor of repealing the earlier BDS motion.
LeBlanc told The Algemeiner that it wasn’t clear whether there was a connection between his anti-BDS activity and the antisemitic graffiti. “But I am also involved in the conservative party here,” he said, “a very minority viewpoint in a very liberal environment. Perhaps that is the connection.”
He expressed hope that the antisemitic graffiti played no role in his having lost the election. “People should vote for their values, and about the issues,” he said, “not out of sympathy for a hate crime.”
Trent University President Leo Groarke told The Algemeiner that after his administration was informed of the graffiti, it released this message:
Trent University is concerned about the use of a swastika in a chalked message. Although it is unclear who is responsible for the message, Student Affairs has reached out to the student presidential candidates to offer our support.
The use of a swastika is offensive and troubling. It is a symbol of hate and intolerance. We hope and trust that the individual responsible for this thinks seriously about the impact that this type of action can have, both on individuals, and on the community.
The chalk messages have been removed and Campus Security are investigating and monitoring for any recurrence.
Trent University is located in Peterborough, Ontario, east of Toronto.