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A Columbia University Professor’s Office Was Vandalized With Spray-Painted Swastikas

In the past 10 days, there has been reported cases of anti-Semitic vandalism and hate speech on two other college campuses. Just last month, 11 Jewish worshippers were killed in a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg. Now, the Columbia Spectator reports that a Jewish professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College arrived at her office yesterday only to find it completely vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs. 

Elizabeth Midlarsky, 77, is a professor of psychology and education at Columbia. She’s taught at the college for the past 28 years, where a lot of her work focused on the Holocaust. When Midlarsky arrived at her office Wednesday afternoon, she found two large swastikas and the word “Yid” spray-painted on the wall. 

“I opened the outer door and almost passed out,” she told CNN. “I was so shaky I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.” 

Teachers College President Thomas Bailey said the school is working with the police to find out who is behind the graffiti. 

“We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society. We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community,” Bailey said in a statement, according to the Huffington Post

This is not the first act of anti-Semitic vandalism at Columbia’s Teachers College, CNN reports. Midlarsky had previously been a victim of an anti-Semitic hate crime in 2007. A swastika was painted on her office door, and anti-Semitic flyers were left in her mailbox. According to the Columbia Spectator, Midlarsky attributes the violence to the rising intolerance and hate crimes against Jewish communities.

“Anti-Semitism is really in the wind now,” she said to the New York Post. “I didn’t expect to be a personal target right now. I’m not standing up there waving banners. I’m not out there making announcements publicly.”

The NYPD is currently investigating any possible suspects and leads.

Carissa Dunlap is a Her Campus News X Social Intern for Summer 2018. She is a current Publishing major and Journalism minor at Emerson College (Class of 2020). When she isn't perusing the YA bookshelf at the bookstore, she can be found watching dog videos on Facebook, at her favorite coffee shops, or relaxing on the beach. Follow her on Instagram @dunlapcarissa or Twitter @Caridunlap.