Swastikas and drawing of Hitler discovered on the door of a Jewish undergraduate

March 12, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

This article contains references to and includes a photo depicting antisemitic incidents.

A drawing of a person resembling Adolf Hitler surrounded by swastikas was discovered on the door of a Jewish undergraduate living in the Florence Moore Hall dormitory (FloMo) on Friday morning. The drawing was believed to have been made sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning, according to an email sent out by Rabbi Jessica Kirschner and the staff of Hillel. The statement was co-signed by the Jewish Student Association, The Board of the Jewish Law Students Association and the Jewish Business Association.

The student whose whiteboard was drawn on says that they filed a Protected Identity Harm Report (PIHR) following this incident; Stanford’s Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) is also investigating the matter. SUDPS believes that this incident could qualify as a crime given that the drawing was left on the door of a Jewish student, according to an email sent out by Vice Provost Susie Brubaker-Cole.

Also in her email, Brubaker-Cole denounced the act. “We wish to be clear: Stanford wholeheartedly rejects antisemitism, racism, hatred, and associated symbols, which are reprehensible and will not be tolerated,” Brubaker-Cole wrote.

A drawing of a person resembling Hitler surrounded by swastikas on a whiteboard attached to a door
A drawing of a person resembling Adolf Hitler, surrounded by swastikas, was found outside a Jewish student’s room on Friday morning. The Daily is withholding the identity of the photographer, who is not a Daily staffer, for fear of harassment.

The student whose whiteboard was vandalized spoke with The Daily on the condition of anonymity out of fear of harassment.

“It’s really making this living situation feel pretty hostile to me,” the student said. “It’s very unsettling thinking that I was in my room sleeping and someone was outside of my door doing this.”

According to the Protected Identity Harm Reporting (PIHR) website, this is the third documented report of antisemitic vandalism in less than two weeks, and the fourth documented report this quarter.

The first two reports of antisemitic vandalism took place in bathrooms in Main Quad, according to the PIHR website. On Feb. 28, a student reported seeing swastikas, anti-Black slurs and the letters “KKK” written multiple times on the wall of a men’s bathroom in the History Corner. The second report took place on March 3, where a swastika with the word “KKK” surrounding it was carved into the wall of a men’s handicapped bathroom stall.

Earlier this quarter, a protected identity harm report was filed after a Snapchat screenshot of a student reading “Mein Kampf,” the autobiographical manifesto of Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler, was circulated. In the screenshot obtained by The Daily, the student appears to be sitting in a dorm room holding a copy of “Mein Kampf.” Their face appears to show an exaggerated expression of contemplation through focused eyes, a finger on their lips and a furrowed brow. Another student appears next to them with a smile on their face.

Additionally, in the fall, a mezuzah on the apartment door frame of two Jewish graduate students living in a residence hall was removed on the last day of Rosh Hashanah, according to a University post on the PIHR website.

These antisemitic incidents also follow a number of other challenges many in Stanford’s Jewish community say they have faced this academic year. This year’s academic calendar began on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. (To address this conflict, the University announced that fall quarter would not conflict with Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, in the future.)

The University also issued an apology in October for limiting Jewish student enrollment in the 1950s.

The Daily reached out to the University for comment. University spokespeople redirected The Daily to Brubaker-Cole’s email and the Protected Identity Harm Report on this specific incident.

“These acts are absolutely unacceptable in this community and in any place,” Kirschner wrote in her email, referring to both Friday’s incident and the other cases from last week.

The residential staff in FloMo, including two resident assistants (RA) and the Residential Fellow, also sent out messages to their dorm community regarding this incident.

“It makes me and other members of our staff physically nauseous to think that a member of our community who we have been living with for 20+ weeks either harbors these hateful views or gets amusement out of terrorizing one of the kindest and most thoughtful members of our East Flo family,” RA Philip Baillargeon ’25 said in a message to his residents. The dorm will be hosting a mandatory meeting with residents to discuss this incident.

Kirschner also called on the University in her email to “redouble, accelerate and publicize its work to root out antisemitism” on campus. These remarks were echoed later that day at Shabbat, where Kirschner spoke and made “demands about better transparency and action and a plan to address the systemic issues on this campus.”

The student affected by the incident also hoped to see the University take steps to “make sure how powerful imagery like this is and how even if it is a joke, it can contribute to hatred and violence.” The student also hopes that the University can figure out who made the drawing and hopes that more solidarity between on-campus affinity groups arises following this event.

“Given the pattern of incidents emerging on campus, and the broader trend of rising antisemitism globally, we need Stanford University to act,” Kirschner wrote in her email. “Let us ensure that our campus is united by its own founding and current mottos: a place dedicated to truth and service, where the winds of freedom blow for all who are part of this ever flourishing community.”

Carolyn Stein serves as the Magazine Editor for Vol. 263. She is double majoring in communications and East Asian studies. Her favorite activity is going on unnecessarily long walks. Contact her at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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