Swastikas painted on Jewish frat house at Vanderbilt University

Marcy Oster

Swastikas were spray-painted on a Jewish fraternity house at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Two swastikas were spray-painted early Saturday morning in the elevator of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, and another on the basement door, the student newspaper the Vanderbilt Hustler reported. The anti-Semitic vandalism reportedly was discovered after a party at the fraternity house.

The university Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Wente sent an email to the student body on Monday afternoon to inform students of the incident. The Vanderbilt University Police Department is investigating the crime, she said.

“We understand the anguish and pain that this hateful symbol causes and we stand together to condemn any effort to intimidate or send an unwelcoming message to the Jewish members of the Vanderbilt community,” Wente said.


Ari Dubin, executive director of the Vanderbilt Hillel, said in a statement sent to JTA that  his organization is “outraged” by the incident.

“While the swastikas were spray-painted at the AEPi house, this inexcusable incident impacts every Jew on campus, and has no place at a Vanderbilt,” Dubin wrote.

“There is no ambiguity about what happened here.  Spray painting swastikas at a Jewish fraternity is not a college prank or some mischievous act of vandalism.  It is a malicious attack intended to bring to mind the horrors of the Holocaust, to force us to feel different, endangered, and isolated,” Dubin continued.

Meanwhile, a swastika was found posted on the bulletin board of the International House at George Washington University, which houses members of nine fraternities and sororities. It was posted by a member of the predominantly Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, the student newspaper The Hatchet reported.

The Metropolitan Police Department and University Police Department have launched a hate crime investigation into the incident at the university in St. Louis, according to the newspaper.

It is the second time in three weeks that the swastika symbol has been found in International house. Three swastikas were drawn on walls in the residence at the end of February. That incident is now also being investigated as a hate crime, University President Steven Knapp said.

The student who posted the swastika has said his action “was not an expression of hatred,” according to Knapp. The student reportedly came into possession of the swastika during a spring break trip to India.