Student leaders condemn alleged anti-Semitic vandalism on residence hall room door

Updated: Feb. 5, 2020 at 1:35 p.m.

Student Association leaders condemned anti-Semitic graffiti allegedly found on a student’s door decorations in Mitchell Hall.

Zev Siegfeld, the president of GW Young Americans for Liberty and a freshman representative for GW College Republicans, alleged on Facebook early Sunday morning that pictures of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on his door had been vandalized with “genitalia,” a swastika and a mustache resembling that of Hitler Friday night. The SA’s Task Force on Fighting Anti-Semitism – formed in the wake of an anti-Semitic Snapchat post last semester – published a statement Sunday calling on officials to take “proper punitive actions” against the perpetrator.

“This display of hate and ignorance is blatantly anti-Semitic and has deeply affected our Jewish community,” the statement reads. “By desecrating a student’s personal property within a GW residence hall, the attacker(s) continue a pattern of anti-Semitism on our campus, which instills fear and pain in Jewish students.”

The incident comes less than three months after an anti-Semitic Snapchat video sparked wide condemnation from the student body. The SA passed a resolution in November urging officials to require faith-based discrimination workshops for all freshmen and to create an anti-Semitism-focused task force.

The task force will hold special office hours Monday from 4 to 5 p.m. in the wake of the incident, according to an SA Facebook post.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said the University is “aware” of the report of vandalism, adding that GW Police Department officers are “fully investigating the incident.” She said Siegfeld has previously reported “several incidents” where items and photos were removed from his door.

“Vandalism, especially those containing symbols or messages of hate, do not align with our University values and bigotry will not be tolerated,” she said.

Nosal said students with relevant information about the vandalism should contact GWPD at its crime tips hotline or email the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. She added that students “looking for resources or support” can reach out to the Division of Student Affairs.

Siegfeld’s post appears to show his door decorated with a photo of Trump and Pence, which he said in the post have been ripped down “several” times. He added that he received a verbal death threat about the door decorations last semester.

“As a proud and vocal Jew, I know this was not a coincidence,” Siegfeld’s post states. “This was another attempt to stop me from expressing my views publicly and another attempt to intimidate me into being quiet.”

My full statement/thoughts on the Swastika drawn on my door:I’ve always believed, above all else, that as much as I…

Posted by Zev Siegfeld on Saturday, February 1, 2020

He said in the post that GW Police Department officers have not been able to “do anything” about prior incidents of vandalism because his residence hall does not have cameras in its hallways.

“I have resisted sharing the ongoing issues with my door publicly, as I had faith GW was working to make things better, and I did not want to create a larger issue,” Siegfeld wrote in the post. “But after five months of issues, I have lost faith.”

University spokeswoman Nosal did not confirm whether or not Mitchell Hall has cameras, adding that GWPD does not comment about “current security measures in place.”

Siegfeld told The Hatchet that he is meeting with a detective Monday to discuss the incident, adding that he is “grateful” for the outpouring of support from the University community across all political ideologies in the aftermath of the incident.

GW College Democrats and College Republicans released a joint statement Sunday condemning the incident and calling it an “act of hate.”

“We must acknowledge as an entire GW community the repetitive nature of these anti-Semitic actions on our campus,” the statement reads. “We will continue to call on the University to take greater strides in ensuring the safety of the Jewish students at GW.”

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