Anti-Semitic message found at University of Minnesota residence hall

Several anti-Semitic messages have turned up at college campuses across the country in the past few weeks, including at the University of Minnesota. This comes as Jews across the world celebrate Hanukkah.

The vandalism at the University of Minnesota was discovered last week in the 17th Avenue residence hall, which is a dorm that groups students together in “living-learning communities.” 

“I would say probably about a quarter of our Jewish freshman live in that residence hall, so it’s probably anywhere from 50 to 100 students,” said Benji Kaplan, the executive director Minnesota Hillel, the campus’ Jewish student organization.

Kaplan says frequency of anti-Semitic acts is up, “including some anti-Semitic flyers with swastikas on University printers, on flyer boards around campus and even this last September on our building here at the Jewish student center."

According to the email to students, this case was “racially-biased vandalism” on a “community-created poster” that was “anti-Semitic in nature and also referenced white supremacist and Nazi sentiments.”

In the last few weeks, swastikas were found at Cornell University, carved into a piano at Stanford University, on a Pittsburgh shooting memorial at Duke University, in a professor’s office at Columbia University and two days ago in a tunnel at the University of Illinois.

“We’re constantly looking at our physical safety here,” said Kaplan.

Kaplan says they don’t believe there’s more anti-Semitism, but that people are more comfortable expressing it. Responding to vandalism has become all too familiar.

“So when asked for statements, we’re doing it regularly enough that we have a stock answer as to how we’re handling it and how we’re supporting our students,” said Kaplan.