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Swastikas and other vandalism at a GW dorm worry students

The George Washington University campus.  (Mary F. Calvert for The Washington Post)
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Three swastikas were drawn inside a George Washington University dorm housing a number of sororities and fraternities.

“The walls have been repainted and GWPD is actively investigating the matter,” Darrell Darnell, senior associate vice president of safety and security, said in a statement. “On Wednesday, the university held a community meeting with International House residents to discuss this disturbing incident. Staff members have communicated with students and concerned parents to reassure them of the university’s comprehensive response to this incident.

“The university does not tolerate actions that make any member of the GW community feel unsafe. The university offers clear mechanisms for reporting such behavior through GWPD and has policies in place to support a safe campus for all.”

Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth of GW Hillel said there have been a series of vandalism incidents at the Sigma Delta Tau sorority in that building, things that seemed more like pranks, he said, such as fire alarms pulled and fire extinguishers emptied. “We’re concerned, we’re on top of it, but hesitant to – I don’t want to say blow it out of proportion. We take all of these things seriously but trying to also take in broader context.”

The International House includes fraternity and sorority members of nine Greek chapters. GW has about 3,000 Jewish undergraduates.

A parent of a sorority member there, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern that the student not be targeted, spoke of concern that the university was dismissive of the incident or trying to avoid letting it becoming known; some parents reportedly were told that a campus security officer didn’t recognize the swastika as an anti-Semitic symbol.

Kaiser-Blueth said students that saw the swastikas “are upset, absolutely.”