January 15, 2019 | ° F

Vandals damage fraternity houses, Hillel property

Photo by John Bolognini |

Hillel House, pictured here Saturday, was vandalized over the weekend. Swastikas were spray-painted on the properties of both Rutgers Hillel and Alpha Epsilon Pi.

The RUPD is investigating acts of biased vandalism that resulted in the spray-painting of swastikas on the property of a predominantly Jewish fraternity on Union Street and Rutgers Hillel, a Jewish organization on College Avenue, this weekend.

The New Brunswick Police Department received a report from an anonymous caller, who reported two males were seen vandalizing the buildings, according to a prepared statement from the Office of Media Relations. No other information on the subjects is currently available.

Though the Squam, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Phi Delta Theta fraternity houses were also vandalized, the Rutgers University Police Department did not characterize their property damage as bias-related - which is being done in the investigation of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity house and Hillel incidents.

Squam's exterior wall was spray-painted, while "UR Gay" and similar statements were spray-painted in front of Phi Delta Theta's property and on the sidewalk, front window, and door of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Alpha Epsilon Pi President Ben Honig, a Rutgers College senior, said this is the first time the fraternity's house was vandalized, and he feels better knowing his house was not the only one "hit."

But the swastika in front of the house "made [the incident] worse," said fraternity brother Matthew Elk, a Rutgers College senior.

Phi Delta Theta brother Ryan Peene, a Rutgers College junior, said the vandalism acts were "something people would do in the second grade. ... It's not something a college student would do in college."

Peene, who is vice president of the Rutgers College Governing Association, said he plans to introduce a resolution condemning acts of vandalism at the body's meeting tomorrow night.

JoAnn Arnholt, dean of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs, said in a phone interview Saturday that she would speak with members of the affected fraternities to provide information and support for their members.

The matter will also be on the agenda for the next Interfraternity Council meeting set for today, according to the statement.

Rutgers College senior Gerard Norcia, president of the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, said he felt better that the acts of vandalism were not directly targeted toward his group.

But "it was a senseless act of vandalism," Norcia said.

Carmen Cusido

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