COLUMBIA, Mo. • Sixteen national organizations are asking the University of Missouri to ensure the safety of Jewish students after anti-Semitic messages were found last week.
The organizations sent a letter to Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin Thursday about graffiti found at the Mark Twain Residence Hall. Several students stated in the letter that they no longer felt safe on campus because of the hate message.
“We are concerned that several days had gone by before you spoke out publicly on the matter, causing some Jewish students to feel marginalized and ignored,” the letter said.
Loftin responded that he took the issue seriously and regretted that he had not responded more quickly. Loftin issued a statement Tuesday calling the graffiti deplorable.
“I regret that my need to delay a statement to facilitate the police investigation called into question my commitment to our Jewish students, who have my full and wholehearted support at all times,” Loftin said.
The Columbia Missourian reports that a swastika, an Illuminati symbol and the word “heil” were found in the residence hall on April 9. After they were cleaned off, a swastika and “You have been warned” were written the next day.
The organizations’ letter questioned why Loftin didn’t respond sooner and said more needed to be done to protect Jewish students.
The organizations urged the chancellor in the letter to publicly acknowledge the graffiti as an act of anti-Semitism and publicly commit to educating university staff and students in identifying anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic hate crimes.
They are also asking for the university to formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism.