RUPD investigates reports of swastika in Clothier Hall
On Feb. 2, Clothier Hall staff were informed of a swastika symbol drawn on a dry erase board in the first-floor study lounge.
Residence Life reported the incident to the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD), who launched an immediate investigation. The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), which operates as a unit of Student Affairs, was also notified, said University spokesperson Jeffrey Tolvin.
“Swastikas are anti-semitic symbols and are often draw on campus to instill fear and hate. These symbols have no place on our campuses and in our residence halls,” Tolvin said.
Rutgers Student Affairs defines a “bias incident” as an act — written, verbal or physical — that threatens or harms a person or group on account of their identity. Their investigative team responds to reports by collecting information and reporting to a committee of representatives, collected from 10 facets of the University including the dean of students and the police department.
Curtis Chan, the residence life coordinator for Clothier Hall, issued an email to students on Feb. 3, asking them to stand together against hate and bias. He encouraged students to contact Residence Life staff immediately if they witness any similar behavior.
“I am deeply disappointed by this act of ignorance and insensitivity,” he said in the email. “Many residents in our community are offended by this. This incident is under investigation by RUPD and we will not tolerate this level of incivility.”
Chan attached contact information for Counseling, Alcohol and Other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), as well as The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE) and encouraged students to reach out for support.
The last time a similar incident was addressed by police was on Jan. 15, 2016 when a student returned home to find a 2-and-a-half foot swastika taped on the ceiling of her bedroom in the Livingston Apartments.
The drawing in Clothier Hall was displayed in a public and widely accessible area. As of now, the incident is still being examined and students are encouraged to share any additional information they may have, Chan said.
“As we all know, we are committed to a respectful community and create an anti-bias environment in residence halls in which everyone, regardless of their identity and differences, feel comfortable to live,” Chan said. “Hate and bias are the opposite of the value that we promote in our community.”
Kira Herzog is the news editor of The Daily Targum. She is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. Follow her on Twitter @kiraherzog1 for more.