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The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GUPD Investigates Anti-Semitic Graffiti Near Jewish Gathering Space

JINWOO CHONG/THE HOYA Anti-Semitic graffiti was found near the Makóm Jewish gathering space in Leavey Center.
Anti-Semitic graffiti was found near the Makóm Jewish gathering space in Leavey Center.

Anti-Semitic graffiti was found in a public restroom next to the Makóm Jewish gathering space in Leavey Center Saturday morning.

The graffiti, which includes a death threat, has been classified as a bias-related incident. The Georgetown University Police Department is currently investigating the incident, according to Senior Director for Strategic Communications Rachel Pugh.

According to a campuswide email from Interim Vice President for Mission and Ministry Rev. Howard Gray, S.J., and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson today, a student found the graffiti written on a sticker on the door of a bathroom stall.

GUPD will increase patrols around campus and coordinate with the Metropolitan Police Department to surveil the neighborhood.

Matthew Sachs (COL ‘20) who first reported the graffiti to GUPD, said he discovered the note Saturday morning (Full disclosure: Sachs is a staff writer for The Hoya).

“At first I looked at the writing and thought, ‘This is totally unacceptable.’ But, I soon realized how incredibly disturbing and hateful this was to me and the people I shared it with,” Sachs wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I truly hope that in the future, our students can learn to accept all faiths and religious groups and uphold the honor and respect that Georgetown prides itself on.”

Gray and Olson condemned the graffiti in their email.

“As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we are committed to fostering a community that is welcoming to people of all faiths and that values diversity, inclusion and respect,” they wrote. “This act of anti-Semitism and hate is unacceptable, antithetical to what we stand for as a university, and has no place on our campus.”

The graffiti is the latest in a series of bias-related incidents reported on campus over the past year, and mirrors a rise in hate-related crimes in Washington, D.C.

In late March, GUPD investigated two separate cases of vandalism targeting Jewish, Muslim and Hindu communities in New South Hall and Village C West, where two swastikas were found scratched scratched into the interior walls of an elevator. The swastikas were painted over by the following morning.

Two separate bias reports were reported the week of March 20 regarding incidents of Muslim and Hindu flyers being ripped down and vandalized from chaplain-in-residence bulletin boards.

The incident also follows a semester marked by other challenges for Jewish student groups. On April 24, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, organizers of the Cyber Project conference in the School of Foreign Service Masters program invited White House deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka to speak on a panel on cybersecurity and propaganda. Gorka’s appearance was protested by Jewish, Muslim and LGBT students opposing his positions on the Muslim community, religious profiling, and alleged affiliations with a Hungarian neo-Nazi connected group, Vitézi Rend.

Gray and Olson reaffirmed the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity in the email today.

“We stand with our Jewish community and any campus community that experiences acts of bias,” they wrote. “Together we condemn acts of hate and celebrate our global community, which is made stronger by our religious, cultural and international diversity.”

Pugh said that anyone with information about the incident should contact GUPD.

This is a developing story. The post will be updated as more information becomes available.

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  • M

    Mike FlynnMay 10, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Exactly what did the graffiti say? Is this the work of hate or a pro Israeli group that want’s to get a little sympathetic publicity? How can anyone get worked up over something written on a bathroom wall? Is this even newsworthy? So now the GUPD is going to put extra patrols on bathrooms just in case the dreaded graffiti monster makes another attempt? If there is any possible terrorist threat call the FBI or homeland security and do a real investigation!

  • A

    Alt Right HoyaMay 8, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Probably another hoax.

    • B

      bobMay 9, 2017 at 8:50 pm

      it was probably you