‘Unprecedented’ Spate of Antisemitic Vandalism Across US Colleges in Wake of Presidential Election Leaves Jewish Students Feeling Vulnerable, Campus Groups Say
Jewish students are feeling particularly vulnerable in the aftermath of the US presidential election, the result of which has sparked an unprecedented number of antisemitic incidents at universities across the country, campus groups told The Algemeiner on Wednesday.
Referring to the more than a dozen acts of vandalism, mainly involving the scrawling of swastika graffiti — perpetrated by members of both the political Left and Right — Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, co-founder of the watchdog group AMCHA Initiative, said, “When hatred is in the air, it often comes to roost on the Jewish doorstep.”
“There is a crossfire happening now on college campuses and Jewish students are caught in the middle,” she said. “Historically, Jews have frequently been scapegoated, and the use of Nazi imagery — which has undeniable resonance with the annihilation of the Jewish people — taps into a basic primal fear. What’s happening today is very frightening for Jewish students.”
Matt Berger, a spokesman for the Jewish campus organization Hillel International, called the spike in antisemitic incidents “of the highest concern.”
“We are working closely with Hillel professionals, university administrators, community partners and local law enforcement around the country to ensure campuses remain safe places for Jewish students,” he said.
Aviva Slomich, International Campus Director for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), called on university officials to “denounce these episodes and thoroughly investigate and punish the offenders.”
“The people who are committing these vulgar acts need to get the strongest possible signal from administrators and faculty that this is absolutely unacceptable,” she told The Algemeiner.
Since the election of Republican candidate Donald Trump on November 8th, Nazi symbols have been appearing at various institutions of higher learning.
At Northwestern University in Illinois, two anti-Trump freshmen — one of them Jewish — spray-painted a swastika, images portraying genitals and anti-gay and racist slurs, alongside the president-elect’s name, on the wall of a non-denominational campus chapel.
At the University of Mississippi, a swastika was found in a residence hall elevator. According to a report in the student newspaper The Daily Mississippian, it was the “fourth instance [on campus] since Election Day.”
At the American University in Washington, DC, a swastika next to the phrase “Go Trump” was discovered on a classroom wall. According to the student newspaper The Eagle, students later modified it to look like an octagon, and changed the words to “Go Drumpf,” adding the words “peace” and “love” to the graffiti. The incident came on the heels of an anti-Trump protest on campus, during which students burned American flags.
At Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, a Star of David with a swastika drawn in its center was found in a classroom.
In Indiana, a swastika was discovered drawn on a dry erase board hanging outside of a dorm room door at Earlham College. “This act was completely reprehensible and totally unacceptable,” the school’s president said in a statement.
In Oregon, Reed College students found antisemitic, racist and homophobic graffiti — such as a swastika surrounded by a circle alongside the phrase “White is right” — on the wall of a bathroom at the school’s library.
As The Algemeiner previously reported, an anti-Trump swastika was also found in a dorm at the State University of New York, which spurred Governor Andrew Cuomo to order a police investigation.
At the University of Vermont, a Trump campaign sign was found spray-painted with a swastika near the campus Hillel. A school spokesman told The Algemeiner following the incident, that the Swastika symbol “wherever displayed, carries painful associations to horrific historical atrocities and is deeply disturbing.”
At the University of New Mexico Nazi-themed graffiti denouncing Trump was found on campus. One student told The Algemeiner that this was just the latest event among others that have left Jews at the school feeling “intimidated into keeping a low profile.”