Jewish fraternity house vandalized with swastikas

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ATLANTA, Ga. - A historically Jewish fraternity’s house was the target of graffiti Sunday.

Monday, Channel 2’s Diana Davis learned there was more graffiti than first thought.

Emory University officials said Alpha Epsilon Pi was the target of “crude, offensive graffiti, including swastikas,” early Sunday morning, shortly after the end of the observance of Yom Kippur. 

“I actually think it’s disgusting. I saw it this morning when I woke up,” student Madison Elias said. “It’s terrible to think that someone could hate somebody that much. I don't know if they realize how disrespectful it is."

Davis learned that not only were swastikas painted on the entrance to a Jewish fraternity, but also on a wall just across the street of another non-Jewish frat house. Rabbi Russ Shylkes of Hillel, a Jewish organization and club on campus, told Davis that representatives of all 28 campus religions met to discuss the attack Monday.

“This act is not consistent with the values of this university or with any of our religious traditions,” Lisa Garvin, the associate dean of chapel and religious life said.  

The swastikas had been painted over by Sunday night.

Students who live at the sorority house next door said they are very upset.

“Being at a school that has such large Jewish population, it’s especially not OK,” Haley Schanback said.

Law student Max Blachman said, through it all, it could have been worse.

“I’m just grateful it wasn’t violent,” he said.

In a statement, Emory University said:

"Emory police officers are actively investigating the incident and have increased patrols to the area.  Campus Life officials are meeting with student leaders to provide support and determine next steps for response.

Officers were patrolling in front of the fraternity house Sunday night.

Students said the hatred will not be tolerated.  

“A lot of us are wearing, in support, their fraternity letters or Israel clothing to support the cause; to say whoever did this is not going to win this,” Schanback said.

The news hit non-Jewish students hard as well, including Julia Omatade.

“I was pretty shocked just because it’s pretty intolerant,” she said.

Amanda York, another student, added, “I think it’s absurd. It’s crazy in the year 2014 that this is still happening.”

Emory University President James Wagner sent a statement to the Emory community Sunday night. It reads, in part:

On behalf of our community, I denounce this abhorrent act. It is an offense against a Jewish fraternity and the Jewish members of our community, and it is a repugnant, flagrant emblem of anti-Semitism. It is also an offense against the entire university. Among the many pernicious things the swastika symbolizes, in the last century it represented the most egregious and determined undermining of intellectual freedom and truth-seeking. In short, its appearance on our campus is an attack against everything for which Emory stands.

"Emory University will not tolerate such acts. Instead we must together (and) pledge Emory University’s continuing commitment to raise awareness and prevent all forms of violence and discrimination; to foster openness and diversity of thought, experience, spirituality, and culture; and to seek positive transformation in our community and the world. We all have a responsibility to uphold the principles we hold dear as an academic community, and to create a community that is inclusive, open, respectful, and welcoming to all.

Anyone with information about the act is asked to call Emory Police at 404-727-6111.


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