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‘Appalling’ Antisemitic Graffiti Found in Mount Holyoke College Dorm for Third Time This Semester


avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Mary Lyon Hall, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA. 2016. Photo Credit: Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons.

A swastika and anti-Jewish slur were found scrawled in black ink in a Mount Holyoke College bathroom, President Sonya Stephens confirmed Friday, the third such incident this semester at the prestigious Massachusetts women’s college.

In a statement, President Stephens said all three incidents had taken place in the same residence hall, and that an investigation of the incident by local and federal law enforcement officials is ongoing.

“Based on all of the information that we have available to us, we believe that these incidents are the acts of an individual Mount Holyoke student who is living on campus,” Stephens said. “We find abhorrent, and take extremely seriously, such acts of hatred against fellow members of our community. We underscore the seriousness of any attack on our Jewish community, and reiterate that we have pursued, and will continue to pursue, the investigation with vigor and diligence.”

“The association of the specific drawings found were intended to convey the murderous legacy of the Nazi regime, antisemitism, hate and white supremacy — none of these have any place at Mount Holyoke or in the many international communities of which we are so much a part,” Stephens continued. “Whether these actions are the result of an embedded white supremacist on campus or some other motivation, we genuinely seek to understand and purposefully address these acts with any individual involved so that they end immediately. At the same time, our focus is on compassion for and protection and support of Jewish community members.”

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She urged members of the community to come forward with any information.

The South Hadley, Massachusetts, liberal arts college enrolls 2,200 students, and is a member of the Five College Consortium that includes Amherst University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Responding to the incident on Friday, Rabbi Shmuel Kravitsky of the Chabad serving the campus told The Algemeiner, “We are appalled and shocked that in this day and age we are still fighting these kinds of things. We will not stand for it at Mount Holyoke College.”

“We will fight the way for which Chabad is known, through increasing education, spreading positivity, and doing good deeds,” Kravitsky said. “I have made myself available to any students who would like to discuss these issues.”

According to the Associated Press, a concerned parent of the student who discovered the offensive messages first reported the incident to the Anti-Defamation League New England on Tuesday.

When a similar act was committed in October, a Jewish student told a campus newspaper, “I blink, and I still see my reflection in the mirror with a swastika on it.”

“I had to take a step back, more back, more back…to the point where it was [in] full body view,” she told Mount Holyoke News. “And I just see a swastika. Terribly drawn, but a swastika nonetheless.”

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