Navigate to News section

Swastika Found in Northwestern Library

Graffiti in men’s room also disparaged African Americans

Tal Trachtman Alroy
April 16, 2015
(Northwestern University)
(Northwestern University)

In yet another display of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses this week, Northwestern University police are currently investigating an incident in which a swastika was drawn on a bathroom window in the university’s library, reported JTA.

“We are looking into several incidents that have occurred, involving racist or anti-Semitic graffiti, in the university library area,” Deputy Chief of University Police, Daniel McAleer told me. “We’ve had four incidents that have taken place recently in the library involving graffiti, normally using pencil,” he said.

The incident occurred over the weekend and was reported to campus security late Saturday morning. McAleer also said that the University has no suspect at this time.

“We don’t know what might have triggered anybody doing this and so we continue to investigate,” he said. “There haven’t been many incidents here that we believe would trigger this.”

University President, Morton Schapiro, issued an emailed statement on Tuesday, calling the graffiti “offensive to the entire Northwestern community” and said it will not be tolerated.
“Northwestern seeks to provide a safe and welcoming environment for students, faculty and staff of all races and religious beliefs,” he wrote.

Third-year law student Shira Oyserman, who also serves as the student chair of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, a Jewish Bar Association in Chicago, called the incident appalling. “It’s sad to see anti-Semitism in America, especially when today is Holocaust Remembrance Day,” she said.

Oyserman agreed that Northwestern was generally a welcoming place for Jewish Students but said this was not the first anti-Semitic incident that year. In January, a swastika was scratched onto a Jewish student’s car.

“It’s unfortunate, and I don’t necessarily think schools are doing enough about it,” she said.“It shouldn’t only be up to Jewish organizations.It should also be the university’s responsibility to come out against this. There has to be more activism.”

Northwestern Hillel’s Executive Director, Michael Simon said that actions like this demonstrate that we still have much work to do in combating hatred and bigotry, “particularly at a moment when we are marking Yom HaShoah, and when African-Americans are reflecting on the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches in Selma.” He also emphasized that “while troubling, this incident is isolated and contrary to the values of Northwestern students and the Northwestern community.”

Tal Trachtman Alroy is an intern at Tablet.