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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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BREAKING: DPA recital poster vandalized with ‘antisemitic language and symbols’

Incident follows antisemitic vandalism in Letts Hall

A Department of Performing Arts recital poster was vandalized with “antisemitic language and symbols” in the Katzen Arts Center over the weekend, according to a Thursday email to the Theatre Department from Theatre/Musical Theatre Program Director Jason Arnold.

The University has not yet sent out a community-wide email specifically about the recital poster’s vandalism, but Arnold’s email said this incident is under investigation.

“To be clear, there is no place in the Theatre/Musical Theatre Program, the Department of Performing Arts, Katzen Arts Center, or American University for hate speech,” Arnold wrote.

The vandalism is one of several recent campus incidents under investigation by the University. On Oct. 20, University President Sylvia Burwell notified the community of swastikas and “Nazi slogans” found on Jewish residents’ doors in Letts Hall. The following week, a Palestinian staff member found a note containing death threats in their office.

Burwell wrote in an email on Oct. 25 that the University is partnering with the FBI to investigate both October incidents. 

A community-wide email from Acting Provost Vicky Wilkins and vice presidents Bronté Burleigh-Jones and Raymond Ou earlier on Thursday noted other incidents of poster vandalism across campus, but did not specify the vandalism in Katzen.

“No community member should remove or deface any poster,” read the email. “We are investigating incidents of poster defacement, including in some cases with our FBI partners, and they will be addressed through our policies and conduct process.”

The incident also follows an Eagle investigation of multiple allegations of racism in the DPA from students of color. Since The Eagle published its investigation in October, the DPA has hosted at least two meetings to address the allegations.

The email to the Theatre Department encouraged students to report incidents to Arnold or Dan Abraham, chair of the DPA, and included a link to report anonymously.

“We will not tolerate language or actions that seek to threaten, intimidate, diminish, or other anyone on the basis of their race, religion, gender identity, sexual identity, class, or background,” Arnold wrote. “It is antithetical to the moral values of our Program, the DPA, and the university.”

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the University has not specified if the FBI is investigating any incidents of campus poster vandalism. The article has been updated to clarify that some of the incidents will be included in the FBI investigation, per the quote from Wilkins, Burleigh-Jones and Ou.

This article was edited by Tyler Davis, Jordan Young and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks.

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