Swastikas and “sexually degrading” messages scrawled inside a student dorm prompted a police investigation, a South Carolina university says.
Furman University received reports of Nazi symbols left on room doors at Blackwell Hall this month, according to an email sent Wednesday to the campus community and obtained by McClatchy news group.
The dorm was also marked with “sexually degrading and sexist messages and drawings,” school officials wrote in the email.
“Regardless of intent, the use of language or symbols that are abusive or intimidating are serious offenses,” the university says.
The alleged act happened during the school’s fall break, which ended Tuesday, according to the college.
It was likely an “isolated incident,” and vandalism wasn’t found anywhere else on campus, spokesman Clinton Colmenares wrote Thursday in an email to McClatchy news group.
Officials say they “take very seriously and condemn any acts that communicate hatred and intolerance,” according to the campus-wide email.
“Swastikas are symbols of anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry and hate,” school officials wrote. “They are antithetical to our shared values of trust and mutual respect for all people, and their use will not be tolerated.”
After the incident, the school says officials in its Office of Spiritual Life met with Jewish students and faculty.
“Symbols such as swastikas are deeply hurtful to all, but especially to our Jewish students and colleagues,” school officials wrote.
Melinda Menzer, an English professor who is Jewish, said the vandalism “is a reflection of the rise in white supremacy worldwide,” according to The Greenville News.
“All of us who have a voice need to send a clear message — this is hate, and we denounce it,” she told the newspaper.
Furman, a private liberal arts college in Greenville, had about 2,700 students in 2016, according to its website. Blackwell Hall is a co-ed dorm for first-year students.
Colmenares says police are investigating the case.
“We do not perceive a threat to the campus or to anyone in the campus community,” he wrote.