An anti-Semitic incident on the Twin Cities campus, and an update on an arrest

Friday, February 17, 2017

President Kaler strongly supports the statement issued by the University of Minnesota Bias Response and Referral Network (BRRN) after an anti-Semitic incident on the Twin Cities campus.  

On the evening of February 8, an anti-Semitic incident occurred in a residence hall, and is being investigated by the University. While it was not an isolated incident - the BRRN has received a total of seven reports involving swastikas, neo-Nazi propaganda, and other anti-Semitic graffiti since the beginning of December - this case was particularly disturbing as it was seemingly directed towards a specific person. The message was drawn inside the person’s residence hall room and included a picture of a concentration camp and a swastika.

UPDATE: Suspect arrested.

One of the roles of the BRRN is to track trends in bias activity on campus. One troubling trend that has recently come to our attention is this string of anti-Semitic occurrences. We know from our research that this is not a phenomenon unique to the University of Minnesota; this kind of graffiti and expression is also taking place on other campuses across the nation.

The story of this abhorrent incident has been broadly circulated on social media and picked up by news sources. The University is responding. Staff have reached out to the student and the student’s family to offer support. Student Counseling Services is available to any student affected by this incident. The BRRN has referred the case to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) and encouraged the student to file a report with the UMPD.

The University has been in communication with both Minnesota Hillel, which sent a powerful statement earlier this morning, and Chabad U of M, which also released a strong statement.

The University of Minnesota condemns all acts of hate on our campus. We are a community that values respect, inclusion and diversity. We are disturbed by this trend as well as other acts of vandalism and graffiti that have been reported to us over the last months that target people based on race, religion, sexuality, gender identity or immigration status. Hate is not welcome here. As our new campaign says, “Our differences drive our greatness. We all belong here.”