Just hours after Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in Judaism, came to an end, swastikas were found spray-painted outside a Jewish fraternity house in Atlanta.
Emory University's Alpha Epsilon Pi chapter made the disheartening discovery early Sunday morning. It is unknown at this time who is responsible for the hateful graffiti, but campus police are currently investigating, according to CNN.
Business Insider, citing student newspaper The Emory Wheel, reports more swastikas were found outside another house Monday. A university representative told the outlet it's unclear if the graffiti is new.
— Hugh Flax DDS (@AtlantaSmiles) October 5, 2014
Members of the fraternity told BuzzFeed News they were particularly offended by the vandalism because many brothers are related to Holocaust survivors. They said:
The prejudiced individuals who conducted this outrageous offense succeeded in the intentions of making us feel unwelcomed, ostracized, and unsafe in this ”home” we call Emory University. This egregious act has not only impacted our fraternity brothers but there is no doubt that it has also distressed and frightened the entire Emory community. As anti-Semitism rises at an alarming rate on college campuses around the nation, Emory must be an influential leader in stifling the perpetuation of such acts of inhumanity.
The university's president shared a similar abhorrence for the act.
"Among the many pernicious things the swastika symbolizes, in the last century it represented the most egregious and determined undermining of intellectual freedom and truth-seeking," Emory President Jim Wagner said in a statement. "In short, its appearance on our campus is an attack against everything for which Emory stands."
Wagner went on to say authorities have "increased patrols to the area."
AEPi considers itself "the world’s leading Jewish social fraternity" with chapters in 180 college campuses in six countries. In a statement on its national website, Executive Director Andrew Borans said the act of vandalism at Emory's chapter is not unique.
This weekend – as the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur was ending – our fraternity house at Emory University was vandalized and painted with Swastikas. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident on college campuses in North America and across the world. The rising tide of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activity on college campuses is widespread and must be stopped. Universities are a place for the free and open exchange of ideas and Jewish students should not be made to feel unsafe in their homes on campuses.
We applaud the Emory University administration for their swift and strong statement and actions on this incident and will work with them to ensure that our Brothers at Emory – and all Jewish students — are kept safe.