Jeff Cirillo is a staff writer for The Hoya.
Three swastikas were found on the walls of two residence hall elevators this week.
A swastika was found carved onto the wall of a Village C West elevator Tuesday evening, and two swastikas were found painted in red on the inside of an LXR Hall elevator Wednesday evening.
The two cases mark the first bias-related incidents reported on campus this academic year, including one in a freshman dorm less than a week after the first day of classes. The Georgetown University Police Department is investigating both incidents.
A student living in LXR reported the second incident to GUPD Wednesday evening, and the swastikas were removed hours later, according to LXR resident Donovan Taylor (MSB ’20). Vice President for Mission and Ministry Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., confirmed the second incident in an email Thursday morning.
The incidents mirror a bias-related incident in March, when two swastikas were scratched into a Village C West elevator and later discovered by a Jewish student on the way to class the following morning.
In a campuswide email Wednesday, Vice President for Mission and Ministry Rev. Mark Bosco, S.J., and Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson condemned “all acts of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and any form of hate.”
“These acts are antithetical to our values as a Catholic and Jesuit university and our commitment to be inclusive and welcoming to people of all faiths and racial and ethnic backgrounds,” Bosco and Olson wrote.
In total, at least eight bias-related incidents on and around campus were announced by email to the university community in the 2016-17 academic year. The incidents included anti-Semitic graffiti found near the Makom Jewish gathering space in Leavey Center in May, the removal of Muslim and Hindu flyers from chaplain-in-resident bulletin boards in March and two alleged off-campus assaults on students wearing hijabs in November.
Another incident on March 12 involved a white nationalist group posting white nationalist messages in several locations on and off campus, which were swiftly condemned by student groups and university officials.
Director for Jewish Life Rabbi Rachel Gartner said the vandalisms highlight the hatred of the offenders and applauded the university’s swift response.
“While this cowardly, despicable act of anti-Semitism is a disheartening reminder of the hate we humans are possible of unleashing on one another, the university’s quick, unequivocal and strong condemnation is a heartening reminder that humanity is capable of great love and support too,” Gartner wrote in an email to The Hoya.
In a joint statement, the Georgetown University College Democrats and College Republicans denounced the graffiti as “symbols of hatred and anti-Semitism.”
“In these first weeks of the semester, we remind all Hoyas, especially the new Hoyas, that Georgetown stands for inclusivity and has no place for bigotry,” the statement read.
This week’s incidents come at a time of heightened national concern about an increasingly prominent white nationalist movement. A so-called “Unite the Right” rally in August drew crowds of white nationalist, neo-Confederate and neo-Nazi marchers to Charlottesville, Va., killing one and injuring 19 others on Aug. 12 after a white nationalist plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters.
University President John J. DeGioia responded to the events in Charlottesville in a letter welcoming students back to campus Aug. 18, saying the community has an “obligation to reject hatred, racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and all ideologies and manifestations of white nationalism and white supremacy.”
This post has been updated.