Students at a UC Davis-affiliated Jewish fraternity house awoke Saturday morning to find two large swastikas spray painted onto their building.
Nathaniel Bernhard, vice president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, said the vandalism took place between 3 and 9 a.m. Saturday. He condemned the action, saying the hate crime threatened to rekindle race tensions at UC Davis. The fraternity house is located off-campus.
“Jewish people still can’t feel safe on their own campuses and in their own houses,” Bernhard said. “Anti-Semitism still exists today. It’s not a fairy tale.”
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Davis police are investigating the incident. Sgt. Trevor Edens said the swastikas were sprayed at the back of the building, including one near the entrance.
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi had harsh words for the perpetrators.
In a written statement, she called the behavior “repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear.”
“Nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members,” Katehi said.
The Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Relations Council condemned the graffiti.
“This is especially heinous behavior given that this past week, the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,” said Barry Broad, president of the Board of The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, in a statement. “Unfortunately, the lessons that history has taught us about the culture of hate have not been heeded by everyone.”
The vandalism comes after the Associated Students of UC Davis passed an advisory resolution asking the UC regents to divest from businesses with connections to Israel.
UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell noted that the resolution did not reflect the position of the university. “That’s a student government matter,” he said.
Call The Bee’s Richard Chang at (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.