‘U’ and Daily should have publicized graffiti quickly

To the Daily:

On Saturday, Jan. 29, at 12:33 p.m., a call was placed to the Department of Public Safety, with a caller reporting “racist graffiti” scrawled on a door in Markley Residence Hall. Days later, we, the executive board of the Hillel Foundation, and our staff, were informed by word of mouth that swastikas and KKK symbols had been drawn on every whiteboard on the first floor of Markley Residence Hall in Little House. This has been the most recent incident — and among the most disturbing — in a recent spate of reports of racist, anti-Semitic and otherwise hateful scrawlings on campus this year.

It is an unnerving coincidence that on Jan. 29, 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, thereby empowering the conductor behind the murder of six million Jews and millions of other religious, political, racial and differently able minorities. It is conceivable that the artist(s) may have had this in mind when employing these symbols, which, since their adoption by Hitler as a unifying emblem of Nazism in the 20th century, are today still used by white power groups and other 21st century incarnations of racist establishments who openly advocate violence and harassment of gay, black, Jewish, Arab, Latino, Asian and other American communities — and/or individuals therein.

Perhaps more disturbing, though, is that the incident wasn’t made known to the public until your article was published on Thursday (MSA responds to racist graffiti, 02/03/2005), five days after the fact.

Thankfully, the Michigan Student Assembly, in conjunction with a number of its commissions and MSA-registered groups, acknowledged this and similar incidents as a hate-driven incident on Tuesday of last week and voted to support awareness regarding hate crimes perpetrated on our campus.

As student leaders of Hillel, we regret that representatives of the University did not made this incident known to us sooner, in order that our staff could offer appropriate counseling services in a more timely manner for students whose sense of security may have been compromised by this most recent instance of hate symbols being perpetuated through vandalism of their private property and places of residence.

We wish to thank MSA and the sponsors of the resolution passed Tuesday for immediately recognizing the gravity of this and similar incidents and for acting quickly to sponsor and pass initiatives to raise awareness about racist, anti-Semitic or otherwise hateful acts and crimes perpetrated on our campus.

We strongly urge the Daily and the University to help maintain more open channels of communication with respect to developments in these incidents and strongly beseech anyone with further information regarding these incidents to notify the proper authorities.

Ultimately, though, our dismay is directed toward the boldly anonymous vandal(s) who felt it appropriate to compromise the security of students at the University through acts of vandalism, intimidation and hatred.

Monica Woll, Chair, Hillel Governing Board, LSA sophomore

Adam Soclof, Vice chair, Hillel Governing Board,RC sophomore

Dina Pittel, Secretary, Hillel Governing Board, LSA sophomore

Robert Weisenfeld,Treasurer, Hillel Governing Board, LSA freshman

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