College campus (illustrative)
College campus (illustrative) iStock

A swastika drawn on a glass panel in a hallway at Ithica College has prompted condemnation from Hillel at Ithaca College and the college’s president, The Ithacan reported.

“The swastika is often used to incite violence against Jews and can threaten Jewish students’ sense of safety,” Hillel said in a statement. “We are grateful to Ithaca College’s leadership for the seriousness of their response.”

Ithaca College Interim President La Jerne Cornish denounced the antisemitic graffiti in a February 4 email to students and staff, adding that an incident report had been filed with the college’s Office of Public Safety.

“The vision of this institution is to build thriving communities, rooted in the values of equity, accountability, and respect, among others,” Cornish wrote. “We cannot achieve this goal in an environment that tolerates antisemitic, racist, or other threatening symbols, words, behaviors, or ideologies.”

Ithaca College has experienced similar incidents in the past. In April 2019, dorm room doors were defaced with swastikas. There have also been cases in the last few years of Jewish students having their mezuzahs stolen from their doors.

Hillel at Ithaca has been a participant in Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative since the 2021/2022 school year began. The program seeks to foster a positive climate atmosphere for Jewish students so that they feel comfortable being Jewish on campus, and not afraid of being targeted or harassed.

Referring to the initiative, in which the college has participated, Hillel said: “It is upon all of us to swiftly combat antisemitism and to ensure that our students have a strong Jewish home at Ithaca College.”