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Swastikas found in Emerson College dormitory

Four swastikas were found drawn in stairwells in an Emerson College dormitory Tuesday night, according to an e-mail sent to students.

The Nazi symbol was discovered in Piano Row, a residence hall , Emerson College President Lee Pelton said in the e-mail.

“Needless to say, this symbol, which was appropriated by fascists to represent and mobilize violence against Jews and millions of other marginalized people, is a form of hate speech,” Pelton said. “Defacing our campus with such a symbol is indefensibly abhorrent, and I ask all of you to join me in condemning it.”

The president added that as anti-semitism and “ugly forms of bias” become more frequent, the Emerson community will stand against such acts.


“Our hope shall always be that, out of the rich diversity of human experience, we can continue to create a community of learning—one made both beautiful and effective by its pluralism, one that will turn the tide of human want into a sea of joy and light,” he said.

The incident is under investigation , the e-mail said.

Other Emerson officials also denounced the hate graffiti.

In a separate statement, Sylvia Spears, vice president of equity and social justice at Emerson, said she found the discovery of the hate symbol “deeply troubling."

“This harmful act affects all of us who choose to live in a manner that honors the worth and dignity of all living beings," she said.

The college will hold a community vigil Thursday, Emerson’s Director of Spiritual and Religious Life Julie Avis Rogers said in a statement Wednesday evening. The 4 p.m. vigil will be led by Rogers and the college’s Jewish Advisor Jake Freedman at the college’s

Rogers said the community is “heavy hearted, angry, sad, and perhaps even numbed,” by the graffiti.

“We at Emerson are greatly gifted by the presence of our Jewish community members; we are blessed by the wisdom and beauty found within the Jewish tradition, and we are a stronger community because of the vision of justice and compassion that the Jewish tradition exemplifies for us,” she said.


Anyone with information regarding the acts is asked to call Emerson College Police Department at (617) 824-8555.

Matt Berg can be reached at matthew.berg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.