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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac officials investigating after finding swastika carved into campus mailbox

Quinnipiac+Universitys+Department+of+Public+Safety+is+investigating+after+officials+discovered+a+swastika+scratched+into+a+mailbox+door+in+the+Rocky+Top+Student+Center+on+Nov.+13.
Peyton McKenzie
Quinnipiac University’s Department of Public Safety is investigating after officials discovered a swastika scratched into a mailbox door in the Rocky Top Student Center on Nov. 13.

Amid a national rise in on-campus hate incidents following Hamas’ attack on Israel, Quinnipiac University’s Department of Public Safety is investigating antisemitic graffiti found on the York Hill Campus on Nov. 13.

John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, confirmed in a Nov. 17 statement to The Chronicle that campus officials discovered a swastika scratched into a mailbox in the Rocky Top Student Center. 

Adopted by the German Nazi Party in the mid-20th century and used today by some American neo-Nazi groups, swastikas are widely regarded as symbols of hate, white supremacy and anti-Jewish sentiment.

Facilities staff removed the antisemitic graffiti “shortly after it was discovered,” Morgan wrote. Public Safety investigators have not yet determined who vandalized the mailbox. 

“Anyone with information about this is asked to call or text Public Safety’s confidential tip line at 203-582-6201,” Morgan wrote. “The university condemns all forms of hate speech and bias-motivated acts and behaviors, in accordance with university policy.”

It appears that facilities staff removed two mailbox doors, though Morgan confirmed that the swastika graffiti only affected one mailbox. It is unclear why campus officials removed the second door.

The university’s daily crime log indicates that a separate incident of vandalism occurred in the Rocky Top Student Center four days before officials discovered the swastika. Morgan said he was not aware of any connection between the incidents.

Antisemitic graffiti forced Quinnipiac University officials to remove a mailbox door from the York Hill Campus mail center on Nov. 13. (Peyton McKenzie)

 

Reena Judd, who has served as Quinnipiac’s rabbi for two decades, said “there hasn’t been an incident like this in quite a few years.”

But the incident is emblematic of a national rise in bias-motivated rhetoric and violence following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

“I’m not at all surprised,” Judd said of the Nov. 13 incident. “I feel surprised it took this long.”

The Anti-Defamation League documented more than 830 reported antisemitic incidents nationwide in the month after the war began. Of these incidents, 124 occurred on university campuses — a more than 900% increase from the same time period last year.

At Central Connecticut State University, for instance, campus officials identified antisemitic and racist graffiti in a student dormitory on Nov. 13 — the same day Quinnipiac officials discovered the swastika.

“The Jewish students on campus, they’re scared and uncomfortable,” Judd said. “This has been the hardest time of their Jewish life.”

The Council on American Islamic Relations revealed a similar spike in reported Islamophobic incidents in the U.S. between Oct. 7 and Oct. 24.

Mordechai Gordon, professor and chair of education, said he urged university administrators in the wake of the Oct. 7 attack to release a statement condemning on-campus hate and violence.

“The response that I got was, literally, ‘We’re not going to put out a statement because we don’t respond to every world conflict,’” Gordon, who was born in Israel, recalled. “‘We’ll address it if something like this happens here.’”

And although Judd said Reyes notified her personally about the swastika, Quinnipiac officials did not inform the university community about the incident.

Gordon said he was disappointed that university officials have not released a public statement but acknowledged “it’s a very complex and delicate situation.”

“I tried to encourage (university administrators) to be proactive,” he said. “It will not feel good if they do not even recognize or acknowledge that something has happened.”

Asked what she believes comes next, Judd answered frankly: “I don’t know.”

“You’re going to print an article that’s going to demand a conversation — we’ll see where that conversation goes,” she said.

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    XiomaraNov 28, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    Clearly this institution only cares when its white students are being targeted. No one is diminishing Jewish fear, and it is wrong to be using hateful symbols, but it is also wrong to be completely disregarding the thousands of Palestinian deaths that the settler colony of Israel has committed on Palestine for decades. “We’re not going to put out a statement because we don’t respond to every world conflict” and “We’ll address it if something like this happens here” is an incredibly harmful message to be sending. We are on indigenous land, named after an Indigenous tribe, where is the respect for Indigenous Palestinians. Disappointed but not surprised.

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  • D

    dianeNov 28, 2023 at 11:15 am

    Quinnipiac is on my child’s list of potential colleges to apply to this winter. I expect nonsense like this to happen everywhere. But the lack of proactive behavior by the campus administration, and their unwillingness to speak up loud and clear on what is going on . . . let’s just say that it speaks volumes. My child will, sadly, not be applying.

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