Swastika graffiti found in men's bathroom in MLB

Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 4:06pm

On Wednesday afternoon, a swastika was found drawn on a bathroom stall in the second-floor men’s bathroom in the Modern Language Building. The racist insignia was discovered by Public Policy senior Sammy Lawrence.

“As a Jewish student on campus this makes me feel extremely unsafe, especially in an environment that should be conducive to learning,” Lawrence said in an email.

The swastika was also seen by LSA senior Ryan Scheidt, who is Jewish, and then reported by Lawrence to the University of Michigan's Division of Public Safety and Security.

Lawrence expanded on his feelings later to the Daily. He wrote he found the markings around 2:35 P.M.

"As a Jewish student on this campus I felt particularly targeted by this Nazi symbol," he wrote. "Giving a platform and validating anti-Semites or individuals who support causes that embrace anti-Semitism makes hateful speech towards Jews acceptable. I call on the entire (U)niversity to condemn this anti-Semitic incident, reach out to a Jewish peer and check in with them, and reflect on how we can prevent this moving forward."

University spokeswoman Diane Brown noted DPSS was contacted about the incident at 2:53 p.m. on Wednesday. 

“We received the call shortly before 3 p.m. It looks like there was graffiti in a black marker on a men’s restroom wall,” Brown specified. 

At the time of publications, the report was still being filed and there were no suspects in the incident.

Brown noted the need for facilities to be involved in the removal of writing like this. 

“Because it was permanent ink, it doesn’t matter what the content is, permanent ink is then removed.”

A DPSS officer was seen leaving the bathroom in question at 3:29 p.m. The officer declined to comment on the swastika.

This incident comes on the same day as the #UMDivest vote by the Central Student Government, which some have called anti-Semitic in nature.

Afterward, Schedit spoke on the possible connection between the #UMDivest vote and the swastika.

“I think if it did happen after this morning’s vote, I think that’s possible,” Scheidt said of the connection to the #UMDivest vote. “I was fearful last night of the passing of the vote.”

Scheidt said he had felt he had a safe space on campus as a Jewish student until now, and he worried the #UMDivest vote would cause more anti-Semitic acts on campus like in the past.

“I was fearful, and if it was drawn this morning after the vote, I hope it has nothing to do with divestment, but it would scare me if it did.”