Loftin: Anti-Semitic messages 'deplorable,' MU investigating incidents

According to the statement, the perpetrator could face criminal charges.

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin issued a statement Tuesday to address anti-Semitic messages discovered in the Mark Twain residence hall April 9 and 10.

Student staff alerted the MU Police Department and submitted a bias report shortly after they discovered the writing in a stairwell, Department of Residential Life Director Frankie Minor told The Maneater on Monday.

MUPD is examining video footage in the surrounding area and interviewing potential suspects as part of its investigation, said Capt. Scott Richardson, as spokesman for the department.

In his statement, Loftin condemned the incidents and said the university will discipline the perpetrator based on the “M” Book, MU’s official rules and regulations governing students. Below is the statement from Loftin made available to The Maneater by MU spokesman Christian Basi in an email:

“Senior administrators have been made aware of two reports made to University of Missouri Police concerning anti-semitic graffiti found on the walls in a residential hall. Currently, MU police officers are investigating the incidents.

I want to make it clear that this behavior is deplorable and unworthy of this institution and its values. I remind you that a core value of our university is Respect and these incidents negatively impact our campus climate and an environment where all students can express their views in a safe and inclusive environment.

MU Student Affairs staff have met with residents to assure them that university staff and MUPD are taking precautions to assure their safety. Informational flyers have been posted in the residence hall to alert residents and to inform them how to report information concerning the incidents.

Bias reports have been filed with the MU Equity Office and individuals found responsible for this act will be disciplined according to university policy and could face criminal charges.”

Members of the MU Jewish community have voiced concerns over students and residents’ safety. MU Hillel and Jewish Student Organization members attended floor meetings in Mark Twain to provide residents with resources and support, Hillel Director Jeanne Snodgrass said in an email.

“We are also here for any students, Jewish or non-Jewish, with questions or who are interested in engaging in further dialogue,” she said. “We condemn any vandalism or messages of hate, regardless of who they are targeted to, and we are particularly concerned that this vandalism appears to have anti-Semitic connotations.”

The MU Chabad is holding Shabbat services and meal for all students on Friday, said Rabbi Avraham Lapine, director of the Chabad. He offered the following statement to The Maneater on Tuesday:

“I was saddened to hear that anti-Semitic graffiti, including Swastikas, were discovered on April 9 in the Mark Twain residence hall.

It is particularly disconcerting that this reprehensible incident occurred as we celebrated the Passover Holiday in a joyous and inclusive manner, and just a week before Yom HaShoah - Holocaust Remembrance Day.

We are glad to hear that the University police have launching a full investigation and we hope for a quick apprehension of the culprit.

When we are faced with this type of darkness, there can only be one response: increasing the light. We will not be bullied or intimidated. On the contrary, we will in fact intensify our activities on campus aimed at increasing knowledge and pride in our Jewish heritage.

We invite all students to join us at Chabad for Shabbat Services and meal this Friday night in a proud statement of our identity. Looking forward to greeting you all.”

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