Another incident of antisemitism in library reported

By Asia Fields

Another incident of antisemitic vandalism in the Jewish Studies section of the Wilson Library has been reported.

A Western Alert was sent out around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21 saying more vandalism and damaged books were reported by Dean of Libraries Mark Greenberg.

This comes after two reports of antisemitic incidents on campus last week. On Monday, March 12, antisemitic language was found written in books in the Jewish Studies section of the library. On Thursday, March 15, a swastika was found drawn on a poster outside a faculty door on south campus.

University Police are continuing to investigate, and there will be increased foot patrols around the library, according to the alert.

President Sabah Randhawa sent an email to campus around 10 minutes before the alert was sent out.

“There can be no justification for these acts and I stand in full solidarity with our Jewish community in condemning these vile attacks in the strongest possible way,” he said in the email.

Photo from the Western Alert

The university will continue to grow the Jewish Studies section in the library, according to the alert, and have already received donations from the community.

There will be a Reshelving Ceremony on Tuesday, April 10, which is open to the campus community. The ceremony is scheduled to come before Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, according to the alert.

Randhawa said the university expects these acts to be prosecuted.

“While we are increasing security measures to prevent future incidents and apprehend those responsible, as an educational institution we also have a broader social responsibility to help eradicate antisemitism and all forms of bigotry, bias and hate,” Randhawa said in the Western Alert.

National organizations tracking these incidents have found a dramatic rise on college campuses in the past few years.

Last year saw the second highest number of antisemitic incidents in the United States recorded by the Anti-Defamation League since they started tracking incidents in 1979. The Anti-Defamation League’s report found that incidents on college campuses nearly doubled in 2017 for the second year in a row and that the largest increase last year was in vandalism.

The Anti-Defamation League included two antisemitic incidents at Western in 2017 in its report. The incidents, which occurred between February and March of 2017, reported a swastika drawn somewhere on campus.

In winter quarter 2016, there were three incidents of confirmed antisemitism, the Front reported. Two of these consisted of students finding swastikas drawn on the doors of their dorm rooms. In the other case, a headless doll was found in Ridgeway Beta with a note that said “Death to all Jews.” The student who was found to be responsible said they considered it a prank they were playing on a friend. The student was placed on disciplinary probation.

The university is asking anyone with information on bias-motivated vandalism or other acts to contact University Police at 360-650-3555 or the EOO at 360-650-3307. The University Police also has an anonymous reporting line at 360-650-SAFE, the university’s statement said. In addition, the Counseling Center can be reached at 360-650-3164.

Editor’s note: The Western Front uses “antisemitic” instead of “anti-Semitic” in accordance to the findings of Western’s Task Force on Preventing and Responding to Antisemitism. The task force was made up of students, faculty, staff and administrators, and the report can be found here.

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