GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Some Furman students returned from Fall break this week to find offensive drawings in their dorm.
University officials said swastikas and sexually explicit messages and drawings were written on white boards in Blackwell Hall in South Housing sometime between Friday and Tuesday afternoon.
Now, Furman Police are investigating.
“We take very seriously and condemn any acts that communicate hatred and intolerance,” said University Chaplin Vaughn CroweTipton and Chief Diversity Officer Michael Jennings in a statement emailed to the campus community Wednesday.
“We do not perceive a threat to the campus or to anyone in the campus community,” said Clinton Colmenares, who is the director of news and media strategy at Furman. “While this is a very serious violation of our student code of conduct and the values of our institution, this appears to be an isolated incident.”
Professor Melinda Menzer teaches English at Furman. She’s also Jewish. When she heard a dorm had been vandalized with swastikas, she said she was disturbed.
“This really…it takes it to a new level,” Menzer said. “It hits at my home.”
“Swastikas are symbols of anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry and hate,” Jennings and CroweTipton wrote in their statement. “They are antithetical to our shared values of trust and mutual respect for all people, and their use will not be tolerated.”
Menzer said she’s not surprised by the anti-Semitic images.
“We see it,” she said. “We see it on the news. We see it in our own communities.”
The Anti-Defamation League reports anti-Semitic incidents surged nearly 60 percent in 2017. In 2018, they found assaults against Jews more than doubled. Menzer said the incident on Furman’s campus reflects a disturbing trend.
The university also condemned what they described as sexually degrading and sexist messages and drawings that were part of the vandalism. Officials noted that vandalism motivated in whole or in part by bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity violates federal law.
Anyone with information is asked to call Furman Police at 864-294-2111.
Anonymous tips can be reported through the LiveSafe app, officials said.