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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Swastika drawn in residence hall with feces

This is the second incident of anti-Semitic vandalism that has occurred in the past year.

Residential Life staff found feces smeared in the shape of a swastika on the floor and wall of a bathroom in Gateway Hall at 2 a.m. Oct. 24, according to a Residence Halls Association statement.

Residential Life then contacted the MU Police Department. MUPD completed a report of the incident, and Residential Life staff also filled out a Bias Incident Report, Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said. MUPD could not be reached for comment.

“The university is aware of it, and the MUPD (is) actively investigating the incident,” MU spokesman Christian Basi said in an email. “Anyone who might have information is encouraged to contact the MUPD.”

RHA President Billy Donley tweeted about the incident yesterday afternoon.

He later released a statement via Twitter detailing the incident.

“It is with regret that I am writing this letter to address an act of hate in one of the residence halls on campus,” Donley said in the statement. “I am not only upset that this happened but I am also upset that I found out via a flyer on the walls of Gateway addressed from the Department of Residential Life.”

Donley said he was dissatisfied with the way in which residents were notified. He said student leaders in residence halls should be notified immediately, and he should not have had to discover the incident on his own.

“We notified residents throughout the hall; we also confirmed our community and institutional values, and encouraged students to report any information to MUPD or staff,” Minor said.

This is not the first time a residence hall was vandalized with anti-Semitic images. A similar incident occurred in Mark Twain Hall last April, when a swastika was drawn on one of the walls in smeared charcoal. Shortly after the incident, freshman Bradley Becker, who was a resident of Mark Twain at the time, was arrested in connection with the vandalism. Minor said nothing currently indicates that the two incidents are connected.

Mizzou Hillel Executive Director Jeanne Snodgrass said the Jewish campus center is troubled and concerned by any hate message, including this most recent act.

“A swastika is particularly problematic for us because of its association with anti-Jewish sentiment,” Snodgrass said in an email. “I am glad that the university is taking the incident so seriously. Hillel and the Jewish Student Organization will continue to be available to provide support, community and dialogue to Jewish and interested non-Jewish students.”

Snodgrass said she is concerned about what seems to be an increase in anti-Semitic activity on college campuses nationally.

“The few incidents we have had at Mizzou are troubling in part because of the concern that they may be part of this trend,” Snodgrass said.

Donley said the vandalism was also impactful for those who intended Gateway to be a symbol of inclusivity because of its gender neutral bathrooms.

“I, personally, am exploring options into requiring each hall government to have a (Diversity Peer Educators) facilitation,” Donley said. “I don’t think a statement is enough. If I were to make it mandatory for every single floor in every single residence hall have a DPE facilitation, that would make a big statement.”

The investigation is still ongoing. Follow The Maneater for updates.

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Article comments

Oct. 30, 2015 at 4:27 p.m.

DocReality: It would appear the material with which the image was made truly captures the essence of the artist who created it.

Nov. 14, 2015 at 2:46 p.m.

Gary Fouse: Anti-Semitism is a serious problem on the campuses of the University of California (I teach part-time at UC Irvine). In fact, it is a national problem. So I wonder where are the protests at Mizzou by Jewish students? If it is anything like California, Hillel has probably told them to stand down. I hope that is not the case.

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