Jewish frat vandalized with swastikas at Vandy

Vanderbilt University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice both are investigating separate incidents of anti-Semitic graffiti.

John Jay’s Manhattan campus had swastikas and racist slurs scrawled in bathrooms and a classroom.

The Vanderbilt Hustler reported that students discovered the graffiti at Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, Tau Chapter defaced with swastika graffiti on the morning of Saturday, March 14. The first two swastikas were spray-painted in the elevator and another was painted on a basement door, according to an e-mail to students from Susan Wente, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“We understand the anguish and pain that this hateful symbol causes and we stand together to condemn any effort to intimidate or send an unwelcoming message to the Jewish members of the Vanderbilt community,” Wente said.

In a statement forwarded to Campus Reform, Chapter President Josh Hyman wrote that, “As brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi, we are resolved not to let these actions define us as Vanderbilt students or as Jews.”

“We are going to work harder to build bridges throughout the Vanderbilt campus to fight anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds. We are proud of who we are and will not let a criminal with a can of spray paint make us afraid or build tensions on our campus,” he said.

Executive Director of Vanderbilt Hillel Ari Dubin told Campus Reform in a statement that Hillel is outraged by the anti-Semitic act.

“While the swastikas were spray-painted at the AEPi house, this inexcusable incident impacts every Jew on campus, and has no place at Vanderbilt,” he wrote.

“Spray painting swastikas at a Jewish fraternity is not a college prank or some mischievous act of vandalism, it is a malicious attack intended to bring to mind the horrors of the Holocaust, to force us to feel different, endangered and isolated.”

The graffiti on AEPi’s house is not an isolated incident of anti-Semitism. Trinity College conducted an in-depth online survey with self-identified Jewish students at 55 universities and four-year colleges across the country. 54 percent of those students reported having been subject to or witnessing anti-Semitism on their campus.

Jewish students at John Jay’s College of Criminal Justice campus in Manhattan were also targeted earlier this month by racist graffiti featuring swastikas. CBS New Yorkreported that the graffiti, featuring racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic slurs, was found in campus common areas such as restrooms and classrooms.

John Jay’s Hillel chapter declared on its Facebook page that “[i]t might be easy to dismiss this as a minor act of vandalism but given the rise of global anti-Semitism (including on college campuses), we must be vigilant in speaking out against all manifestations of anti-Jewish behavior and symbols.”

Vanderbilt University Police and John Jay College Police are investigating the separate incidents as hate crimes.

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