CRIME
02/24/2017 04:34 pm ET Updated Feb 24, 2017

Swastika Written In Human Feces Found In Bathroom At RISD

The college is investigating the anti-Semitic incident.

A top U.S. art school is investigating an act of anti-Semitism on campus that may make some stomachs turn.

A swastika drawn in human waste was recently discovered in a gender-neutral bathroom in a dormitory at the Rhode Island School of Design.

“This level of disrespect and vitriol is completely unacceptable and RISD Public Safety is investigating this isolated incident as both an act of vandalism and potentially a crime of hate,” Jaime Marland, director of RISD public relations, said in a statement to The Huffington Post.

Marland added that college authorities held a community meeting with the affected dormitory floor and are encouraging anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

“We are deeply committed to providing a safe and supportive campus environment for our students and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” she told HuffPost.

It’s unclear whether the anti-Semitic incident was also aimed at LGBT students, given the national debate over trans students’ access to restrooms that match their gender identities.

Brown RISD Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, said it was “saddened and angered” by what had happened.

“To say we condemn the RISD graffiti is too mild and obvious a statement,” said Rabbi Michelle T. Dardashti, an associate chaplain at the college.

“Students of Jewish history understand that deadly anti-Semitism has been cyclical, thus current manifestations (in the forms of graffiti, bomb threats, cemetery vandalism and white-supremacist and alt right rhetoric) are hard to write off as trivial or innocuous,” Dardashti said in an email to HuffPost.

Students told NBC 10 that the swastika was just the latest of several feces-related acts of vandalism that have occurred on campus.

“There have people using their own fecal matter in a harmful way in the bathrooms, in the showers, all over the bathroom,” one student said.

The incident comes a time when the U.S. is witnessing a wave of anti-Semitism. Eleven Jewish community centers received bomb threats on Monday, forcing evacuations in ten states. After strong urging by press and fellow politicians, President Donald Trump finally denounced anti-Semitism on Tuesday.

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and Jewish community centers are horrible and painful and a very sad reminder of the work that must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization, has called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to create a special task force to investigate threats targeting Jewish community centers around the nation.

This story has been updated with comment from Rabbi Michelle T. Dardashti.

HuffPost

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