Multiple anti-Semitic incidents occurred at the University of Connecticut (UConn) during Passover weekend.
Graffiti featuring swastikas was discovered on the building opposite to UConn Hillel on March 27 and on March 28. Also, anti-Semitic slurs were screamed at a Jewish student wearing a kippah who was holding a box of matzah. On March 30, more swastika graffiti and a Nazi SS logo were discovered on a UConn building.
The anti-Semitic incidents were reported in UConn’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus. The publication said that seven anti-Semitic incidents have occurred on campus during the 2020-21 school year.
In an email to students and staff, UConn President Thomas Katsouleas called the incidents “distressing.”
“It is absolutely urgent for us to make clear to all of our students, faculty, and staff members that you are vital, valued members of the UConn community. For those who feel distressed or uncertain in the face of incidents of abhorrent conduct, let us be as clear as we can: Hate has no place here.”
Both incidents were first reported on UConn Hillel’s Instagram page.
The first post stated, “On Saturday, March 27th, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, a swastika was found graffitied on the side of the Chemistry Building directly facing the UConn Hillel building. The UConn Police department responded to this incident, and there is an ongoing investigation.”
A second post the next day said, “A Jewish student was walking past Mirror Lake holding a Kippah and a box of matzah when a student driving past slowed down, rolled down the window, and yelled antisemitic comments."
UConn student Dori Jacobs, who is the campus Hillel board president, said in an interview with NBC Connecticut that the anti-Semitic incidents occurring at the university have caused Jewish students to question their safety on campus.
“It’s a very, very hard time to be hit with anti-Semitism like this because it feels like once again we have to fight for our ability to practice our religion freely without this type of hate,” she said.
She said that UConn needs to “incorporate anti-Semitism education into the curriculum. Just as you incorporate education against all other forms of hate and bigotry.”
In a tweet, the ADL said, “Hateful rhetoric against anyone has no place in schools. Pleased @UCONN is taking these attacks seriously and will hold those responsible accountable. @ADL_Connecticut is supporting UConn Hillel & student leaders to bring about long-term positive change.”
However, StopAntisemitism.org responded on Twitter with criticism of UConn for doing little to fight the multiple incidents of anti-Semitism recently occurring on campus.
“@UConn students have been begging the President to do something for MONTHS. With the massive amount of $$$ invested into the school’s security, we’re finding it a bit puzzling as to why none of the eight antisemitic incidents that have happened since September have been solved?”
UConn Hillel tweeted that “Enough is enough. Jewish students on campus are done being silent. Please stay tuned for information about a gathering to support Jewish students and stand up against antisemitism on April 5th, 2020.”
The incidents are currently being investigated by the UConn police department.