Swastikas, Nazi slogan found graffitied on Jewish students’ doors at American University dorm

University President Sylvia Matthew Burwell said the graffiti was “unacceptable” and campus police were conducting a thorough investigation.

WASHINGTON — American University’s president says the school is investigating after swastikas and a Nazi slogan were found graffitied in a student dorm this week.

In a letter posted to the school’s website, university President Sylvia Matthew Burwell said the Nazi symbols were found on the doors of two rooms belonging to Jewish students in Letts Hall as well as a bathroom.

“When we are so deeply focused on our community of care – supporting each and every member of our community who is in pain and feeling scared and vulnerable – it is unacceptable that our Jewish community was targeted and harmed through this act,” Burwell wrote. “Hate speech will not be tolerated. It violates the values that define our community.”

Burwell said the university was providing support to the affected students and campus police were “thoroughly investigating” the incident.

Maryland Rep. Jamie Rakin, who taught at American University Washington College of Law for more than 25 years, responded on Twitter Saturday saying he was “appalled” by the Nazi symbols.

“Antisemitism and racism are gateways to the destruction of democracy; universities must act,” Raskin wrote.

In a briefing earlier this month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said both antisemitic and Islamophobic threats have been on the rise since Hamas invaded Israel – sparking a violent conflict that has left more than 1,600 dead as it stretched into its third week.

Earlier this week, Maryland Delegate Joe Vogel said his Montgomery County apartment building had been vandalized with antisemitic graffiti for the third time in recent months. It was unclear whether Vogel, who sponsored legislation that established the Maryland Attorney General’s Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention, was the target of the graffiti at his apartment building.

At American, Burwell said in her letter the university was committed to ensuring the safety of all students.

“I ask that as a community we recognize that our Jewish and Israeli community members and families are frightened. Our Muslim and Palestinian community members and families are frightened. Acts of hate, intimidation, and dehumanization cannot be the way we live together and treat one another,” Burwell wrote.

 Anyone with information about the Nazi symbols found at Letts Hall was asked to contact the American University Police Department at 202-885-2999.

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