A swastika was found on Sunday on a mural at Duke University commemorating the victims of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
According to the Duke Chronicle, the mural had been painted by students in October at East Campus Bridge shortly after the shooting and featured a Star of David, the Pittsburgh Steelers emblem, and the names of the 11 victims of the shooting. The swastika was drawn over the Star of David in bright red marker.
The swastika was eventually covered with a trash bag.
Duke President Vincent Price condemned the swastikas as “a craven and cowardly act of vandalism” that is “a matter of grave concern.”
“To our Jewish students, faculty, staff and neighbors– ”and indeed every member of our university community– ”I pledge that Duke will do whatever we can to protect your safety,” Price said. “As an immediate response, we will continue to provide additional security at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life and other locations on campus. In addition, we will be installing security cameras in the vicinity of the East Campus Bridge, which has unfortunately become a focus of attention for those who seek to promote hatred and intimidation.”
Price added that the mural’s desecration was part of an increased trend of anti-Semitism worldwide.
“We have an urgent obligation to confront anti-Semitism and other forms of hate on campus,” Price said.
First-year student Olivia Levine, who was among the students who helped paint the mural, wrote on Facebook that she “was speechless when I saw this photo.”
“It feels like there is no safe space from anti-Semitism,” Levine wrote.
StandWithUs Co-Founder and CEO Roz Rothstein, whose parents are Holocaust survivors, said in a statement to the Journal, “It is outrageous that someone vandalised a mural to the Pittsburgh victims using a hideous symbol of the hate that inspired their murderer.”
“This is yet another reminder that anti-Semitism on campus is alive and well, and that we must all do more to fight it,” Rothstein added.
It’s the third swastika to be found at Duke in the fall; the two other ones included a swastika on a bathroom door and another carved into a pumpkin.
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