North Texas Daily

Swastika graffiti found outside GAB

Swastika graffiti found outside GAB

April 22
23:37 2015

Paul Wedding / Senior Staff Writer

Many consider college campuses to be places of tolerance and open-mindedness, which left some wondering why a large drawing of a swastika was found on the side of the General Academic Building.

The drawing, located on a wall in the outdoor basement-level atrium of the building, was scrubbed off but faint remnants can still be seen on the faded brick. The swastika, originally a Hindu symbol that is literally translated to “good fortune” or “wellbeing,” is now the symbol of Nazis, or National Socialist Party. The Jewish and Israel studies department is located in the GAB.23_swastika_web1

The graffiti was located on the wall shown here on the first floor entrance of the GAB. Photo by Edward Balusek – Visuals Editor

“There’s been a surge of anti-Semitic messages on college campuses,” said Jewish and Israel studies lecturer Cindy Renker. “It makes no sense, because that’s where the educated crowd is.” Renker said she isn’t sure where the anti-Semitism stems from, but it comes from all groups of society, from blue collar workers to the highly educated. “As long as there are human beings, there will be some form of hatred,” she said. “You can’t eradicate all prejudice in society.”

Renker said the program is working to make the campus more informed and educated on Judaism by hosting a lecture series called “Anti Semitism Anti-Israel” next year that will bring in both Jewish and non-Jewish lecturers to discuss Judaism with UNT students.

UNT Police Department Public Information Officer John DeLong said this would not classify as a hate crime according to the FBI’s Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines. The guidelines state that a hate crime requires an objective motive of bias.

Computer science sophomore Amir Kessler said he has not had to deal with much anti-Semitism at UNT, but that his fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, has experienced it in the past.

“There have been people that have spray painted swastikas on AE-Pi’s houses,” he said. “Whenever that happens, we try to find out why they do it, and usually it’s an anti-Semitic reason.”

Vice president of facilities David Reynolds did not know about the swastika on the GAB and said Facilities usually deals with graffiti after it’s been reported or if someone in the department has spotted it on campus. He said they usually paint over it or pressure-wash it off.

“Graffiti is not something we prefer to just let lay on campus,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds said to report any spotted graffiti to work control at 950-565-2700.

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