Groups decry swastika on Old Campus

Concerned e-mails circulated around campus yesterday after nearly a dozen students — including six brothers of the primarily Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi — discovered a swastika symbol and the “SS” insignia sculpted in snow on the trunks of two Old Campus trees at 3 a.m. Saturday.

While they said they are upset by the symbols, members of Jewish campus groups have not yet announced any formal public response to the incident.

Students found a swastika and SS symbol written in snow in Old Campus yesterday.
Students found a swastika and SS symbol written in snow in Old Campus yesterday.

The appearance of the symbols comes during a year when two other anonymous incidents — including the spray-painting of “nigger school” and “drama fags” on University property in November — have caused a stir on campus.

Witnesses to Saturday’s incident called the Yale Police Department after discovering the symbols, but police could not identify a culprit that morning, said Benjamin Chaidell ’11, one of six brothers who discovered the insignias.

The phrases “JE” and “JE SUX” — a reference to Jonathan Edwards College and its motto — were also written in snow on two other trees, Chiadell said. The trees marked “JE” and “JE SUX” were located in front of Farnam Hall, he said, and the trees marked with the swastika and SS insignia were nearer to the center of Old Campus.

Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry called the event “immature,” “ugly” and “disgusting.”

“I don’t know who would do this,” he said Sunday evening.

Pierson College Master Harvey Goldblatt sent an e-mail marked “URGENT” decrying the incident to all Pierson students Sunday evening.

“It is shocking for these kinds of hateful images to appear anywhere, but it is even more disturbing when it is within the locked gates of Old Campus at Yale University,” he wrote in the e-mail.

“Let us hope that we have seen the last of these hateful images,” he added, “Enough is enough!”

In response to the incident, the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale will hold a moment of silence to commemorate the deaths of six million Jews at Nazi hands prior to afternoon services, Noah Lawrence ’09, the spiritual life chair of AEPi, wrote in an e-mail to members of Yale’s Jewish community Sunday.

Such a response is meant to send a message to “those who would trivialize — or worse, celebrate — the slaughter of our people,” he wrote.

On Sunday, Jonathan Goldman ’09, a member of Yale Friends for Israel and brother of AEPi, sent an e-mail to several hundred students that contained photos of the defaced trees and expressed concern about the symbols.

“We should be loud and insistent that this is completely intolerable,” he wrote in the e-mail.

Goldman told the News he sent out the e-mail because it was apparent to him that few students were aware of the incident.

“Nobody seemed to know about it at all,” he said. “Nobody seemed to be taking charge of any kind of campus-wide initiative.”

Goldman noted that the event — though isolated — suggests a continuation of the previous instances of hate speech on campus this year.

Jeremy Avins ’10, senior coordinator of the Multi-faith Council, said the incident demonstrates a “bad streak on campus.”

“I’ve been at Yale for two years and have seen acts of hate against Muslims, homosexuals, African Americans, women and now Jews,” he said. “And that’s at the very least.”


  • Anonymous

    I still don't understand why people link the graffiti from last fall, which appeared to have been done by townies, to the few things perpetrated by Yale students. That said, this is more disturbing than previous incidents, as there's no doubt of their intent. NOGAYS was a poorly-thought-out joke; 'Yale Sluts' was a bunch of (drunken?) frat boys. But no one goes around putting up swastikas and the SS runes for a laugh.

  • Anonymous

    Now, THIS is sick… What's up with all the hate speech on campus???

  • BeBop65

    Dean Gentry is correct. Stupid, immature, insensitive or worse.
    Consider this. What do you think the objective was of the Aholes who put this here? To get the Yalies, especially Jewish students, in a dither. Don't take the bait. Wipe the snow off the trees, note your outrage(sounds like that has been done already), and move on. Get back to your normal lives, and don't let these Aholes disrupt those lives.

  • Anonymous

    Disgusting, but that's hardly a new thing around here, is it?

  • JA

    I can say that this worries me. This is not funny nor entertaining.

  • Velo

    Get over it. Just add a little more snow and make it a nice design. Folks, it going to melt.

  • CTL

    While I do agree that a much bigger deal has been made about this than is warranted (as is usually the case), it is an immature and counterproductive act.

    Now that we all seem so ready to condemn hatred, let's get to work on combatting the anti-white rhetoric coming from the halls of history, sociology, and "whiteness studies" classes here on campus. The orthodox narrative seems to hold that white people are the villains of history and responsible for all the world's ills. It's not cultural problems of affected people, but the white man's "racism." No one else is to blame. And of course, the progenitors of this hatred need not scribble their message in secret. They openly hold tenure, rally in student organizations, and have the full support of the school. That kind of hatred poses far more danger than a couple idiots making snow swastikas.