On Tuesday, April 30, the Ur- sinus community woke to troubling news. An email sent out by campus security reported that a swastika had been found drawnin the first-floor men’s bathroomin Pfahler Hall. Obviously, the historical context of the swastika is repugnant: “The symbol of the swastika is universal shorthand for hate. Not just against Jews, but against all marginalized and oppressed groups,” Dr. Alexandria Frisch, Assistant Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies/Coordinator of Jewish Life, said.
Adding to the repugnance were the recent news events surrounding the drawing. “Given this weekend’s anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue in San Diego, Calif., and given other recent tragedies motivated by hostility and intolerance, the use of such a divisive and hateful symbol is particularly reprehensible,” Campus Safety said in their email to the campus.
Kimberly Taylor, Associate Dean of Students, said that a student had found the drawing and quickly reported it to Campus Safety, who then removed it. Campus Safety is still unsure of the perpetrator. “Campus Safety is continuing to speak with in- dividuals in the building hoping someone can provide a lead. We are also seeking feedback from the community if anyone has additional information,” Taylor said.
Some members of Hillel were not surprised that this happened. “Unfortunately, the announcement did not come as a surprise … because I know that there are people that feel that it is ok to do these things,” Deniyele Glickstein-Levin, ’20 co-president of Hillel, said. The incident left Glickstein-Leven shaken. “It makes me feel unsafe,” Glick- stein-Levin said.
Samuel Mamber ’21 noted that despite the awfulness of the incident, it still pales in com- parison to what other minority groups have to go through. “I feel as though my own safety– not only on this campus, but overall in Collegeville is no-where nearly as compromised as the safety of people of color or LGBTQ+ individuals,” Mamber said.
Overall, however, people were highly pleased with how quickly the school handled matters.
“I am very confident in the college’s efforts to do what is right and they are doing everything they can to make sure that the students feel safe. I have been in contact with them and they are very transparent, which is something I am grateful for,” Glickstein-Levin said.
Frisch echoed those statements, “It’s very upsetting to know that this happened on our campus and I appreciate CampusSafety’s quick response since it’s of the utmost importance to our college community that all students, faculty and staff feel safe on our campus,” Frisch said.
Glickstein-Levin hopes that that swiftness of the response will send a strong message that these actions are never accept- able and thereby create a safer environment for all. “Email has spread awareness that these things are still happening on campus, and I hope that whoever did this realizes that their actions are not welcome, especially at Ursinus.” Glickstein-Levin said.