Someone painted swastikas and a pentagram on the Stanford University campus over the weekend in what university officials are calling a hate crime.
“I am deeply troubled by the act of vandalism, including symbols of hate, that has marred our campus,” Stanford President John Hennessy said in a statement.
“The university will not tolerate hate crimes.”
Students discovered the Nazi symbol and pentagram early Sunday at several student residences, including the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and Casa Italiana.
The campus has recently been debating anti-Semitism after the undergraduate student Senate in February took a position favoring divestment from “corporations identified as complicit in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine” and recently questioned a Jewish student senator about her views on divestment.
After the swastikas were discovered, students and a rabbi, Serena Eisenberg, gathered on campus to condemn the vandalism.
“The display of this loaded symbol of the Holocaust cast a shadow over our university community,” Eisenberg said. “We appreciate the university’s investigation of this incident in the wake of recent campus discord. Hate crimes have no place on a college campus or anywhere.”
The Stanford Review newspaper quoted the student who found the swastikas — identifying him only as the president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity — as saying, “We have no reason to believe this was targeted toward any particular Jewish student in SAE.”
The student told the paper he called the police and informed the university.
Hennessy said the incident “will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university under our Acts of Intolerance Protocol.”
It is not the first time swastikas have been found on campus, though details of past incidents were not immediately available.