Man arrested in anti-Semitic defacement of Atlanta autism center

Suspect arrested by police for August vandalism of Emory University Autism Center, including targeting a Jewish employee with a swastika.

Dan Verbin ,

Atlanta
Atlanta
iStock

Police have arrested a man suspected of vandalizing an autism center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia in August, including drawing a swastika near the office of a Jewish employee.

Roy Lee Gordon Jr., a former part-time employee of Emory University, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with second degree burglary, according to a news release quoting Emory officials, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

There were no further details on Gordon’s position at Emory or how long he had worked there.

Emory police had issued a warrant for Gordon’s arrest on August 20.

Besides the swastika that targeted a Jewish employee, Emory Autism Center was also burglarized and other vandalism, including racial slurs written in the hallways and on vending machines, occurred. As well, a glass door was shattered with a large rock that was still there when the crime scene was investigated, reported Channel 2 Atlanta.

The racial slurs were written along the walls near workspaces used by two African American women.

“This case was a priority for our entire department, including our security systems team,” Emory Police Chief Cheryl D. Elliott said in a statement. “I’m proud of the work from the team and our law enforcement partners to recognize the sensitivity of this case to our community and bring a resolution.”

After the incident occurred, Emory University said in an email statement: “These acts of racism and anti-Semitism are painful for all of us at the [Emory Autism Center] and in the Emory community. They will not be tolerated, and every effort will be made to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Anti-Semitic incidents on American college campuses have become all too frequent, with a recent study highlighting the shocking growth of such incidents across the country.

Alums for Campus Fairness found in a survey done during the first half of 2021 that nearly 100 percent of respondents said anti-Semitism was a problem on their campus, with current students more likely to call it a “major” problem and graduates a “minor” one.

Ninety-five percent of respondents identified anti-Semitism as a problem on US college campuses, with three out of four describing it as a “very serious problem.”

Similarly, a study conducted in September found that over 65 percent of Jewish college students reported feeling unsafe on campus, with half going as far as hiding their Jewish identity.

Those that said they hid their identity said that the impetus was to avoid physical or verbal attacks as anti-Israel and anti-Zionist organizations become increasingly aggressive in their campaigns and messaging against Israel and pro-Israel students.



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