Swastika drawing found in Ward Circle Building
The symbol with the words “Go Trump” found drawn on classroom wall
UPDATE: AU Police are asking any students with information regarding the incident to contact the department.
— AU Police (@AUPublicSafety) November 11, 2016
A swastika with the words “Go Trump” was found drawn on a classroom wall in the Ward Circle Building on Friday morning.
The drawing, which students found early this morning in the Ward 4 classroom, has since been modified to say “Go Drumpf!”, “peace” and “love.” The swastika also appears to have been modified to look like an octagon and has been erased as of 2:15 p.m.
Students posted photos of the drawing on social media, leading AU Public Safety to respond on Twitter to say that an officer was taking a report and a preliminary investigation was underway.
Director of Public Relations Kelly Alexander, who represents AU Public Safety in the media, declined to comment on the state of the investigation.
Swastika spotted in Ward 4. Someone before I came in tried to modify it, but the fact is someone still drew it in the first place. pic.twitter.com/ehaD5tpLQV
— SM (@floreashelby) November 11, 2016
Sophomore Shelby Moring, who found the modified image in Ward 4 when she arrived for class at 7:50 a.m. on Friday, said she contacted the Dean of Students about the incident, and that AU's cleaning services had also been notified.
“Initially, my heart dropped. I heard about the defacing of NYU property and of course I've seen photos of these racist symbols across the country but I guess I didn't expect it at AU,” Moring said in a message. “But then again, this isn't the first time AU has let down Students of Color and other marginalized groups.”
AU Hillel condemned the incident, and offered support to students affected by it.
"We were deeply troubled to learn about an act of anti-Semitic, white-supremacist vandalism on campus this morning. The university is investigating and taking the incident seriously," Jason Benkendorf, the director of AU Hillel, said in an email. "Hillel is committed to the safety and well-being of all students – we are here for you with open ears and open arms. We will continue to support Jewish students, and students of all backgrounds, working to build a more just and inclusive community on campus and beyond."
Vice President of Campus Life Dr. Gail Hanson said that though she could not comment specifically on the incident, Office of Campus Life staff are trying to be as accessible and visible to students as possible. She also said that the office is attempting to operate with open appointments for students who wish to stop by.
“From CDI to Residential Life, staff are creating opportunities for students to gather and share and reflect on their experiences,” Hanson said in an email.
Several students have taken to Facebook and Twitter to share their reactions to the incident, including former Student Government President Sasha Gilthorpe.
A swastika on a wall in an @AmericanU classroom today. Fellow Jews: we are a resilient people. Let us be resilient for others who need us.
— Sasha Gilthorpe (@sgilthorpe) November 11, 2016
Hanson further encouraged everyone on campus to care for one another.
“Many are actively engaged in communicating care to students who are concerned about their well-being,” Hanson said. “Everyone who can needs to step up.”
The incident comes amid a tense week on AU’s campus, following a protest and flag burning on Wednesday in response to the Donald Trump’s presidential election, and hours before the Westboro Baptist Church is scheduled to arrive near campus to picket the University’s resources for trans students.
Disclaimer: Shelby Moring has worked as a columnist for The Eagle.