FBI called in to assist with swastika investigation

Web Update Friday, Nov. 2, 5:10 a.m.

@import url(http://files.gwhatchet.com/i/071101/issue.css);

Swastikas on Campus

Timeline and Related Articles

  • Oct. 23: Sarah Marshak, a Jewish freshman, finds a swastika drawn on the whiteboard mounted to her Mitchell Hall door. Her house proctor contacts UPD. In the next four days, two more are drawn, each progressively larger in size. Swastika drawn on door (The Hatchet, Oct. 25).
  • Oct. 27: Transfer student Erica Tanne, a Jewish sophomore, finds the symbol drawn on the whiteboard mounted to her residence hall door. Tanne lives in Potomac House.
  • Oct. 28: A swastika is drawn on Marshak’s door for the fourth time. More swastikas found on door (The Hatchet, Oct. 29).
  • Tuesday: Marshak finds a swastika on her door for the fifth time. In eight days, seven swastikas were found on campus: five on Marshak’s door, one on Tanne’s door and one on a fence by GW Hospital. The University does not link the vandalism by the hospital to those in residence halls. University: Seventh swastika not yet hate crime (Hatchet Web Update, Oct. 29).
  • Wednesday: University President Steven Knapp tells The Hatchet that UPD is investigating and has not involved the Metropolitan Police Department. Also, a swastika was found spray-painted on the door of a Columbia University professor, which the New York City Police Department is investigating.
  • Thursday: Marshak discovers another swastika on her door. This is the sixth instance in ten days and the eighth swastika found on campus. An eighth swastika is found overnight in Mitchell Hall (The Hatchet, Nov. 1); News Analysis: What is a hate crime? (Nov. 1).
  • Friday: The University states in a news release that it has called in the FBI to help identify those responsible for the drawings. FBI called in to assist with swastika investigation (Hatchet Web Update, Nov. 2).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now involved with the investigation into eight swastikas that have appeared in three locations throughout campus in the last week, according to a news release issued by the University early Friday morning.

Under normal circumstances the University does not release details about ongoing police investigations, said Robert Chernak, senior vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. Because of mounting concern about the scope of the University’s investigation, GW skirted its standard policy.

“In fact, the University has been actively investigating this horrendous situation from the outset,” Chernak said. “Campus police have increased patrols of Mitchell Hall, site of the repeated incidents, and we are taking every conceivable step to identify the person or persons responsible.”

University President Steven Knapp told The Hatchet Wednesday that University Police Department officers were capable to handle the investigation and the Metropolitan Police Department was not involved.

Chernak also said the University offered freshman Sarah Marshak, the target of most of the swastikas, full protection by UPD officers and the opportunity to move her into a new residence hall.

The first swastika was found on Marshak’s door Oct. 23. The symbol has since been found on a door in Potomac House and on a fence by the GW Hospital.

Knapp will speak to the community at Hillel 6:30 p.m. Friday.

In the news release, Chernak said he has full faith in those investigating the string of vandalism.

“We have no tolerance for acts that threaten or vilify our students or any members of our community,” Chernak wrote in the release. “I remain confident that such acts do not represent the sentiments of our student body and the university community as whole.”

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.