Late Saturday night — between the Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur — anti-Semitic graffiti appeared on the steps of the side entrance to Yale Law School.
The graffiti depicted a white, spray-painted swastika above the word “Trump.” By noon on Sunday, the graffiti was covered with black paint and a doormat. It has since been removed entirely. On Monday, Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken issued a statement to the YLS community reaffirming the school’s values, offering support and notifying the community of an upcoming investigation.
“We are saddened by this act of hate against our community at any time but understand that this is particularly difficult occurring between the High Holy Days,” said Ellen Cosgrove, associate dean of students at Yale Law School. “Diversity and inclusion are core values of our institution [and] attacks against individual students or communities of students will not be tolerated.”
Gerken emphasized that there is no evidence that a member of the Yale community painted the swastika, and stressed that the act of anti-Semitism is “utterly antithetical” to the values of the Law School.
“Yale Law School has zero tolerance for discrimination or harassment of any kind, and symbols of hate have no place on our campus or in our society,” Gerken said. “We take an incident like this extremely seriously and are currently investigating.”
Gerken encouraged anyone with information to reach out to her office.
Organizations in the Yale community, such as the Law School’s Office of Student Affairs and the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life, responded to the incident on Monday, condemning the action and offering support to students.
Rabbi Jason Rubenstein, Jewish chaplain at Yale, wrote in an email to the Slifka community Monday evening that the investigation into the perpetrator’s identity is ongoing and is “relying on video footage from late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.”
According to Rubenstein, the Yale Police Department told Slifka on Sunday that they visited “all other likely targets of anti-Semitic activity” and found “no evidence that this incident is part of a larger campaign.”
“[University Administrators] very much see this as an attack not just on Yale’s Jewish community, but on Yale itself and its values, which is some of the most powerful consolation we can receive as we figure out what this mean[s] for our community,” Rubenstein said.
In his email, Rubenstein also invited members of the community to reach out to friends, himself or one of his colleagues — Rabbi Isaama Goldstein-Stoll and Rabbi Alex Ozar — to “find [their] voice[s]” in these “days of reckoning,” and also to “help others find their voices” by acting as a listening ear.
In 2008 and 2014, swastikas were found on Old Campus — sculpted on trees out of snow and written in chalk outside Durfee Hall, respectively. The individuals responsible were not discovered in both cases.
Those with information regarding the perpetrator can reach out to Gerken’s office or the YPD.
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