NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Police at Vanderbilt University in Nashville are investigating after three swastikas were found painted in a Jewish fraternity house on campus Saturday morning.
Two of the symbols were found spray-painted in the elevator of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, and the third was painted on a basement door.
“We understand the anguish and pain that this hateful symbol causes and we stand together to condemn any effort to intimidate or send an unwelcoming message to the Jewish members of the Vanderbilt community,” Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Susan Wente said in an email sent to students Monday afternoon.
Students also received an email listing available resources for those troubled by the incident from Dean of Students Mark Bandas.
“It’s pretty disgusting that someone would do that to such a diverse community,” said freshman Vanderbilt student George Miller.
“That’s just pure hate speech. That shouldn’t be tolerated; it’s really awful,” said Kevin Gotkin, a visiting PhD student from Pennsylvania.
Ari Dubin, Executive Director of Vanderbilt Hillel, told the Vanderbilt Hustler student newspaper that he is outraged by the anti-Semitic act that impacts every Jew on campus, adding that it has no place at Vanderbilt.
Josh Hyman, President of AEPi at Vanderbilt, released the following the statement:
We were, obviously, horrified when we found these symbols throughout our house but we know that these symbols of hate do not represent the attitudes of our fellow Vanderbilt students.
We’re grateful for the support and advice we have gotten from the VU administration, our friends at Hillel and Chabad and our International Fraternity. We’re especially grateful to see how the Vanderbilt student community has begun to rally to our cause.
As brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi, we are resolved not to let these actions define us as Vanderbilt students or as Jews. We are going to work harder to build bridges throughout the Vanderbilt campus to fight anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds. We are proud of who we are and will not let a criminal with a can of spray paint make us afraid or build tensions on our campus.
AEPi Executive Director Andrew Borans released the following statement on the fraternity’s website:
All of Alpha Epsilon Pi stands with our undergraduate brothers at Vanderbilt University following an anti-Semitic incident at the chapter house last weekend. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident on college campuses in North America and across the world.
We applaud the quick and positive actions taken by the Vanderbilt University administration and our partners at Hillel and Chabad. AEPi has also sent volunteers, staff and our national security consultants to meet with our chapter and to help ensure that they feel safe on their campus. Universities are a place for the free and open exchange of ideas and Jewish students should feel safe in their homes on campuses.
We are even more proud, though, by the actions of our undergraduate brothers to turn this into an opportunity to educate their campus peers about the dangers of anti-Semitism and to build bridges to other campus organizations and institutions to combat hatred on their campus.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism is very real and is undoubtedly connected to organized and concerted anti-Israel activities on college campuses. AEPi proudly stands with Israel and, just as proudly, will work to allow our members to express their support for Israel as well as their Jewish heritage in any way they want.
The Anti-Defamation League also issued a statement Tuesday condemning “the attack” against the Jewish fraternity. Click here to read it in full.
AEPi is the world’s leading Jewish social fraternity, operating chapters on nearly 185 college campuses in seven countries.