The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house on the Stanford University campus was vandalized Saturday night, marked by swastikas, insulting epithets, and personal slurs. A spokesman for the university’s public safety department is currently being investigated as a hate crime.
“I am deeply troubled by the act of vandalism, including symbols of hate, that has marred our campus,” said Stanford President John Hennessy in a statement to the Stanford Daily. “The University will not tolerate hate crimes and this incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the University under our Acts of Intolerance Protocol. This level of incivility has no place at Stanford.”
“I ask everyone in the University community to stand together against intolerance and hate, and to affirm our commitment to a campus community where discourse is civil, where we value differences and where every individual is respected,” Hennessy concluded.
The graffiti was discovered Saturday by fraternity members. “We discovered a number of offensive symbols and messages spray-painted on the SAE house,” said the fraternity’s president, adding that they have no reason to believe the graffiti was “targeted toward any particular student in SAE.”
The Stanford Israel Association student president, Liana Kadisha, said the anti-Semitic incident follows a pattern of a “rise in hostility” toward Jews on campuses.
“I don’t want to speculate to the cause of the vandalism, but after divestment, there has been a rise in hostility towards Jewish communities,” said Kadisha, adding that student groups at Stanford have been consistently refusing to co-sponsor events with SIA.
The Stanford student paper points out that the act of vandalism comes just three weeks after student government candidate Molly Horwitz claimed she was singled out for being Jewish during an endorsement interview by the Students of Color Coalition, “which sparked discussions on campus about what constitutes anti-Semitism.”