Student charged in N. Dakota anti-Semitism

A University of North Dakota student was charged in an incident that helped drive a Jewish freshman from his dormitory.

The Grand Forks County state Attorney’s Office issued charges Tuesday afternoon against Spencer Garness, who allegedly wrote “Scott is a Jew” in ice cream in a campus residence hall elevator, according to news reports.

Garness was charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. North Dakota law carries no special designation for hate crimes.

The incident was one of a series of anti-Semitic acts that freshman Scott Lebovitz says contributed to his decision to leave his dormitory earlier this month. In February, a swastika was found on a wall near his room. Lebovitz says he was the target of anti-Semitic taunts from fellow students for months.

A number of anti-Semitic incidents have been reported at the university in recent weeks. Jewish students have accused the university of dragging its feet in response and refusing to characterize the incidents as “hate crimes.”

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