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Antisemitic Graffiti Found on Campus for the Second Year in a Row

On Monday, Sept. 27, during the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShana, also known as the Jewish new year, American University President Sylvia Burwell sent out an email to students and faculty notifying the community of an AntiSemitic incident. A swastika was found on a ceiling tile in the Anderson Hall terrace. 

Last September, a swastika was painted in the same bathroom . Burwell titled the initial email notifying the community, “Update on Possible AntiSemitic Grattifi,” despite the fact that a swastika is a clear indicator of AntiSemitism. After recieving backlash for refusing to acknowledge the act as AntiSemitic, Burwell issued an apology letter.

While the American University Police Department (AUPD) conducted an investigation, no perpetrator was found. This year, Burwell stated that Housing and Residence Life as well as the AUPD responded to the scene, took the tile down and filed a case with the Office of Equity and Title IX. Burwell stated, “We will confront AntiSemitism in all its forms.”

However, many students are gravely disappointed with the way the school has been handling these cases of AntiSemitism. Eitan Toubia, a member of Chabad at American University stated, “I think it’s disgusting and unfortunate. I know that the university will not do much and doesn’t have much they can do. I have faith in the Jewish community at AU and that we will be strong.”

Due to privacy laws,there are no security cameras on campus, making it extremely difficult for perpetrators to be caught. The university claims to prioritize inclusivity and sense of belonging, but students have seen few emails sent out condemning AntiSemitism and little action. Education on AntiSemitism has yet to be added to the AU(x) curriculum despite the fact that students learn about how to help other minority groups.

While the case is being investigated, students are highly encouraged to contact the Office of Equity and Title IX by emailing equityoffice@american.edu or calling 202-885-8080.he number for the AUPD Investigations Line is 202-885-2999, or anonymous tips can be provided through the Rave Guardian Safety App. For student support, contact the 24-hour AU ProtoCall Line at 202-885-7979, and/or the Center for Well Being’s number at 202-885-3500. Students living in the residence halls can call the Community Directors, who are always on-call, at the hall’s front desk. Students can also visit the AU Safety Services Website.

Shira Cohen is a Sophomore at American University majoring in American Studies with Minors in Psychology and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. In her free time in addition to writing, she loves reading, baking, and listening to classical music!
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