A Jewish fraternity at UC Davis was defaced with swastikas over the weekend, spurring outrage and accusations on the Northern California campus.
The vandalism, still under investigation by police, appears to have occurred sometime overnight Friday before members of Alpha Epsilon Pi awoke Saturday and reported the crime.
UC Davis officials condemned the vandalism as “an affront to us all.”
“This kind of behavior is not only repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear, it is unacceptable and must not be tolerated on our campus or anywhere else,” Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and other UC Davis officials said in a written statement.
Fraternity leaders told CBS13 in Sacramento that they believed the swastikas were painted in retaliation for the fraternity’s support for Israel. A student government body at the university called last week on the University of California Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories.”
However, other student groups have said the ongoing campus debate over Israeli government actions cannot be blamed for the vandalism.
“We reject any attempts to blame this on any single student community, including the UC Davis Divestment movement,” a joint letter from a long list of organizations, including the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, stated. It condemned the graffiti as a hate crime.
The Davis chapter of the Jewish fraternity is not the first to be vandalized with the symbol in recent memory: An AEPi house at Emory University in Atlanta was painted with swastikas in October, shortly after the end of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
At the time, Alpha Epsilon Pi executive director Andrew Borans warned that “this is not an isolated incident on college campuses in North America and across the world.”
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