Cornell students report 3 swastika incidents in nine days


(JTA) — Three swastikas have been reported in the student residential area of Cornell University in nine days.

The most recent incident was a large swastika stamped out in the snow next to a dormitory on Monday night, the independent student newspaper The Cornell Sun reported.

A swastika was drawn in a dorm on Nov. 14, according to the publication. One had been drawn on a whiteboard in a different dorm four days earlier.

The Cornell Hillel posted a Facebook message Tuesday morning about the incidents.

“Swastikas are icons steeped in anti-Semitic hate, and have no place on our campus,” the statement said. “We are deeply concerned about this trend. We stand against anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

The post said the Hillel was in communication with the administration and would provide information as it becomes available.

“We are here today and every day available to you by phone, email, text to process these hateful acts,” it said.

Students filed bias reports in the three incidents, according to the Sun. The university told the student newspaper that it was investigating. It could not provide details about the incidents because information reported in bias reports are confidential.

On Tuesday, Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus Life, issued the university’s first official response to the incidents in a statement addressed to students, staff and faculty.

“I write today to express my revulsion at the symbol of hate and anti-Semitism that was marked in the snow outside of a residence hall on North Campus late yesterday,” he said. “I vehemently denounce such acts, which are clearly intended to intimidate members of our community. The swastika has historically been – and continues to be – used as a symbol of intolerance, terror and repression against vulnerable communities.”

Lombardi said the affected dorms have had floor meetings with their resident advisers and that residence hall directors have sent building-wide support messages and lists of resources to help students deal with the incidents. He said a support gathering will he held after Thanksgiving break “to bring our community together and to provide additional support.”

“I specifically want to acknowledge and affirm our support for the Jewish members of our community who have faced the impact of anti-Semitism nationally and, unfortunately, now locally as well,” he said. “It is our shared responsibility to denounce such cowardly acts.”

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