Authorities at UMass Boston are investigating after antisemitic graffiti was found in bathrooms at several buildings on campus this week, school officials said.
In a letter to the campus community, Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Chancellor, and Joseph Berger, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said they were made aware of the graffiti on Monday. School officials and law enforcement immediately inspected the bathrooms and began investigating the incident, they said.
“There can be no equivocation on what this is: a hate crime that strikes at the heart of who we are,” Suárez-Orozco and Berger said in the letter sent Tuesday. “And we should all be outraged that this reprehensible, cowardly behavior has infiltrated the UMass Boston community.”
The discovery of the graffiti comes amid reports of rising antisemitism on college campuses nationally as the Israel-Hamas war continues.
DeWayne Lehman, director of communications at UMass, said in an email that the university police department is conducting a thorough investigation.
“We are unable to comment on the details of an ongoing investigation,” Lehman said.
Suárez-Orozco and Berger said that the university has an obligation to denounce antisemitism in all its forms.
“We cannot idly stand by when targeted actions of hate are perpetuated in the midst of our community,” Suárez-Orozco and Berger said. “Among the principal lessons from the history of antisemitism is a call to disavow and condemn antisemitism of any kind in all its immoral forms, unequivocally and decisively. In our agency, in our moral compass, indeed in our inherent humanity we are called to ensure that in our institutions, decency and justice prevail.”
The university must remain vigilant in modeling antiracist norms and behavior, they said.
“We are conducting a thorough criminal investigation and will do everything we can to ensure that the perpetrators of these acts of hate and vandalism are held accountable,” Suárez-Orozco and Berger said.
They said that resources and counseling services are available to students who need them.
“We ask that you join us in condemning this cruel and misguided attempt to divide the UMass Boston community,” Suárez-Orozco and Berger said. “We are much, much better than this.”
Adam Sennott can be reached at email@example.com.