Vandalism increases antisemitism concerns

By Mary Anderson

Recent incidents of antisemitism at Miami University, including drawings of swastikas in sharpie on walls, have caught the attention of university officials and police.

Lauren Somers, president of Hillel at Miami University, said these incidents are disheartening to Jewish students at Miami.

“These incidents spread hate, causing Jewish students on campus to feel unsafe,” Somers said.

In Ohio, there has been a 43% increase in reported antisemitic incidents from 2021 to 2022, outpacing the national increase of 40%, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s tracker of antisemitic incidents. 

“Antisemitism has been increasing not only on Miami’s campus but on campuses and communities everywhere,” Somers said. “Every year we create a new record for highest rates of antisemitism – it’s only growing and growing.”

Earlier this month, the university notified local and federal law enforcement when white supremacist and antisemitic posters and swastikas appeared on campus, according to a Nov. 11 statement from the university. Miami University spokesperson Jessica Rivinius said the incidents remain under investigation.

“Sharpie-drawn swastikas were reported in the Psychology building and Miami Inn residence hall,” Rivinus said.

Three Miami students stand charged with felony vandalism for damaging a sukkah, a temporary ritual structure erected behind the Hillel building last month. Police said in a tweet they did not recommend that the vandalism be treated as a hate crime because they were unable to determine if the students acted with religious bias.