A New York City university became the latest venue for hate-mongering individuals to unleash their racist, xenophobic attacks on people of different religion and color.
The New School, a private research facility in Manhattan, was shocked to the core when anti-Semitic graffiti in the form of swastikas were found branded on four of its dorm room doors. The dormitories on the 15th floor of Kerrey Hall are female-only and residents include women of color, people from the LGBTQ community and Jews.
The doors made from whiteboard material have the dual purpose of sharing “positive” messages around the residence hall. However, this week they became the news bearer for Nazi-style hate speech.
Lizzy Katz, a junior majoring in fashion designing, reported the incident to security at 11 a.m.
“I took a picture, sent it in a group message to my suitemates and erased it out of shame,” Katz said. “That’s not something I want on my door if I don’t have to have it on my door.”
Sam Lichtenstein, 20, who lives with three Jewish roommates burst into tears when she saw the symbols.
“It was just heartbreaking,” she said. “This is something you read about happening in other areas, and it's crazy to have it happen in such a progressive city, and a progressive university.”
“I looked over to my girlfriend and was sick to my stomach I (couldn't) believe what was happening,” added Lichtenstein’s roommate who identified herself as Jessica W., 20, of Philadelphia.
“There were a lot of questions. Do I have to fear that someone is watching me? How does somebody know that I’m gay?” she asked.
New School President David Van Zandt commented on the incidents on Twitter and said it goes “against every value” of the school.
He also issued a statement: “I have just learned of the defacement of four dormitory doors on our campus with a symbol intended to threaten and express hatred toward some of our students because of their identities. Our community standards are very strong and hate crimes are unacceptable at The New School. The New School is committed to tolerance, respect, and diversity. Any form of expression that denigrates members of our community based on their race, ethnicity, religion, sexual or gender identity, or political beliefs is completely abhorrent and antithetical to our core values. We take any such instance seriously, investigate swiftly, and take appropriate action to ensure the security and safety of all our students.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also condemned the hate crime and called it “reprehensible.”
Hate speech is reprehensible, and has no place in NYC. To the affected, we stand with you. To the perpetrators, we are better than this. https://t.co/8J4JU56yti— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) November 12, 2016
It is even more ironic and more than a little bit sad because the New School is historically known to be a sanctuary for Jewish academics who were being witch hunted in Europe in the 1940s.
Ever since Donald Trump became the president-elect, neo-Nazi supremacists have gotten bolder and there is an unprecedented surge in hate crimes across the country. Trump’s previous incendiary rhetoric has done nothing to curb these hateful actions; instead, the president-elect’s own views on immigrants, women and people of color, may have given credence to these attacks.