More Swastika graffiti spurs administration involvement

Chestnut Hall, location of the new Freshman Dorms - Former Editor-in-Chief/ Kyle Sullender

Two additional occurrences of Swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti were reported in Chestnut Hall, this past weekend, according to Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Richard Jones. This raises the total amount of anti-Semitic graffiti within the dorm to three accounts within the last week.

A mandatory meeting, which included the entirety of Chestnut Hall residents and Residential Learning and University Housing staff and officials, was called Sunday evening, Dec. 13. An email to all residents prior to the 3 p.m. meeting stated, “Swastikas were found on a few room doors, as well as hallway and staircase walls. We thought maybe this issue would have been resolved, but because it is continuing, you are all mandated to attend this meeting today.”

The meeting was orchestrated by prominent university officials, including: Jones, Rowan University Office of Social Justice, Inclusion and Conflict Resolution director Gardy Guiteau, General Counsel to University President Ali Houshmand, Melissa Wheatcroft, and members of the Rowan Police.

Jones said it is unclear who is participating in the vandalism, but that the purpose of the meeting was to explain the university’s position on the issue and the consequences of anti-Semitic graffiti, which could be up to 5 years in prison and/or $15,000 in minimum penalties.

“We called everyone together to further talk about what our values are as a university,” Jones said. “We don’t know why it’s occurring. Rascit things are things that occur because people are neither informed nor care about the communities they live in.”

As an effort to educate and increase awareness about incidences of hate speech, the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Spiritual Exploration Resource Center in the office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution will be holding a forum on religious and spiritual inclusion. The event will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 16, In the Chamberlain Student Center, Room 221, from 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 

Anyone who might have information regarding the graffiti is encouraged to contact the university’s anonymous tip line at (856) 256-7428.