Stanford University is investigating a series of anti-Semitic incidents on its campus, which it classifies as hate crimes. Swastikas and an image of Adolf Hitler were found on a Jewish student’s dormitory door on 5 March. Earlier, a men’s bathroom stall was daubed with anti-Semitic images, while another was marked with the letters “KKK” and the N-word, leading Stanford to classify them as hate crimes. The matter is being investigated by the university’s public safety department. Campus authorities have called on students to report all incidents of discriminatory or hateful conduct.
The latest incident was condemned by the university. It called the graffiti a “brazen threat to an individual student” and stated that “antisemitism and other acts of hate and intolerance are unacceptable on this campus”. The student whose dormitory was targeted spoke anonymously to Stanford’s student newspaper, the Stanford Daily, stating that “it’s really making this living situation feel pretty hostile to me. It’s very unsettling thinking that I was in my room sleeping and someone was outside of my door doing this”.
Although no perpetrators have been identified in any of the incidents, the university has said that property damage, “particularly with words intended to threaten and intimidate individuals (specifically in this case Black and Jewish communities) is contrary to Stanford’s values” and is “absolutely unacceptable in our community”. Stanford has received widespread criticism, including from its own faculty, for allegedly failing to respond adequately to such incidents.
Students and administrators, however, stressed that such incidents are part of a wider issue, rather than a purely local problem. The university’s Black Community Services Centre and the Jewish community on campus held a joint meeting, which was attended by around eighty students. The centre’s associate director, Michaela Daystar, commented that: “This is not happening in isolation, it’s happening across the country. It’s part of national, systemic racism and bigotry that we need to think about how to tackle”.