As much as the topic of race and tolerance has been exhausted recently on our campus, the past week has seen an increase in tensions fueled by the appearance of swastikas at several locations on campus. While it is not yet known who is guilty of this vandalism or the circumstances surrounding it, it is vital that the administration is open with the student body about the ongoing investigation and efforts to curb future instances.
The instances of swastikas appearing on campus have been upsetting and disturbing to the entire GW community. The administration has made clear its disapproval of such acts but even more than that, it must let students know what is being done to stop such occurrences. Without compromising the investigation, it would reassure the community to know which measures, such as added University Police Department presence or the installation of security cameras, are being taken.
While the Islamo-Facism Awareness Week postering incident does not exactly mirror the current situation, we can learn from the reactions to the former event. In that instance, the actual posters were only posted for a few hours, but our community was left to deal with the aftermath. People got caught up in the terminology of the issue, and the actual posters, satirical or not, were lost in the shuffle.
This time, our community is facing a hateful symbol that has been found seven times in Foggy Bottom during a weeklong period. It is important that we do not get lost in the technicalities but that the GW community expresses its disapproval of the inflammatory acts, regardless of the smaller details. There are very few instances under which a swastika can be regarded as not hateful.
This sudden rash of hateful acts on our campus is not a fair representation of what our university stands for and we must not allow ourselves to be defined by a few isolated individuals. It is necessary that students and the rest of the community unite to make it known that hateful acts are not typical of GW and that such instances will not be tolerated.