Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Swastika drawn on poster outside Jewish professor’s office in Memorial Hall

NewsCampus NewsSwastika drawn on poster outside Jewish professor's office in Memorial Hall

BY KONNER METZ
Editor-In-Chief




Editor’s note: A previous version of this story did not note that the poster was on the door outside of a Jewish professor’s office. This is a developing story that will continue to be updated.

An incident in Memorial Hall on Monday in which a swastika was drawn on a poster is greatly disturbing university faculty.

Faculty in the English department were notified yesterday that a swastika was drawn on a poster outside of a Jewish professor’s office. The phrase “We Are Everywhere” was also written on the poster, which hung on that professor’s door in Memorial Hall, according to an email received by faculty from John Ernest, the chair of the English department.

The poster was subsequently taken down and university police were contacted regarding the incident, per the email.

The Kristol Hillel Center at the university released a statement Tuesday to condemn the targeted hate speech at the Jewish professor. In the release, Donna Schwartz, the executive director, said a task force will gather to address the recent increase in hate speech on campus.

According to UDPD Chief Patrick Ogden, the investigation has been assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit, and it is being looked into as a potential hate crime. UDPD is in the process of talking to witnesses and surveying camera footage.

“We don’t have cameras at the actual inside of Memorial Hall, but we do have cameras on the outside,” Ogden said. “A lot of these things take time to be very thorough and methodical in the investigation. It’s being actively investigated right now, but we’re not at the point where we have a suspect that we’re tracking.”

Monday’s vandalism is yet another concerning case of antisemitic actions on campus in recent years. Last November, a swastika was found drawn in a residence hall on campus. In August of 2020, the Chabad Center for Jewish Life, located on South College Avenue, was intentionally set on fire. That targeted attack sent shockwaves throughout the community, and the center was able to raise over half a million dollars in efforts to rebuild the university Chabad house.

But with recurring episodes of hate speech in and around the community, along with a national uptick in antisemitism, there is a palpable sense of worry held by students, especially those of the Jewish and LGTBQ+ communities.

Bennett Gentile, a junior double major in philosophy and energy and environmental policy, was disappointed that university administration had not released a statement to students as of Tuesday afternoon.

“As a member of the LGBTQ community, it is incredibly disheartening to see the university not immediately have a statement saying that it is unacceptable to have targeted intimidation,” Gentile said. “Obviously they can’t control specific students doing hateful actions, but what they can control is a response to it.”

While students have not been officially notified of the incident as of Tuesday afternoon, the university shared an email statement with The Review.

“The University of Delaware is deeply disturbed by this expression of hate, which is being investigated by UD Police as a potential hate crime,” the statement read. “This incident is in direct opposition to our institutional values supporting diversity, equity and inclusion, and we unequivocally denounce this and all expressions of hate, prejudice and discrimination. The University has also reached out to support those directly affected by this incident and will continue to make resources available to all members of our community.”

Tuesday evening, President Dennis Assanis released an email to the student body condemning the act and offering words of support for students, faculty and staff.

In response to Monday’s incident, English faculty have posted flyers throughout office doors in Memorial Hall, in part reading, “Hate speech does not belong at the University of Delaware.”

The above flyer was posted around Memorial Hall by English department faculty on Tuesday following Monday’s incident.
Risha Inaganti/THE REVIEW

Faculty members in the English department also sent out a joint statement on Tuesday.

“We assert that the English Department is a place where all are free to learn in a safe and welcoming environment,” a portion of the statement read. “We affirm our commitment to people of all genders, sexualities, and faiths and stand with queer, trans, and Jewish members of our community.”

If you have any information or tips regarding this incident, contact UDPD’s Alexandra Burnham at aburnham@udel.edu or 302-831-4136.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The article neglects to state that the faculty member is Jewish. That matters. This was targeted hate.

  2. The letter was anti semitic, hatred towards Jews. Jews are last mentioned in the English department memo. It was not about trans, queer, gay , gender, or race. You were scared to address the actual threat and that the professor was Jewish!!

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