Anti-Semitic graffiti was found in a restroom in the Friend Center on Wednesday, the first evening of Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day.
According to Elan Sykes ’18, who authored a Facebook post about the incident, the graffiti was found in a bathroom by another student.
Sykes said that the graffiti was written in a toilet paper dispenser inside a bathroom stall. It contained negative commentaries alluding that Jews are "ruling the United States."
The response Sykes received regarding his Facebook post has been overwhelmingly supportive, he said. Although the Jewish community on campus was shaken by the graffiti, the incident did not interfere with students’ attendance of memorial services on Holocaust Remembrance Day, he added.
Rabbi Julie Roth, director of the Center for Jewish Life, and Josh Roberts, president of the Center for Jewish Life student board, released a statement following the incident. According to the statement, “Anti-Semitism is real, it exists around the world and in our own backyard. We are disturbed by this incident and we are working with Department of Public Safety and the University to address the matter.”
“The CJL is committed to working together with other members of the Princeton community to combat all forms of hatred and bias,” the statement added.
However, shortly after publishing his post on Facebook, Sykes noticed a recent Yik Yak post that read, “I abhor anti-Semitism, but what I don’t understand about right wing Jewish students is that they DON’T speak out against hate speech against other minorities. At least the ones posting these statuses.” The post appeared to have been written as a response to Elan’s Facebook posting.
Sykes explained that this post, which labels those who raise similar concerns as “right wing,” captures a social trend in dismissing anti-Semitism. Contrary to the post’s assertion, Sykes said he identifies as politically liberal. Furthermore, any statement that seems to advocate against ethnically-based animosity but follows it with a negative commentary is insincere, he added.
“Whoever posted this is friends with me on Facebook but decided to post anonymously instead,” Sykes noted.
The post was rapidly down-voted on Yik Yak, according to Sykes.
In late March, a wave of anti-Semitic fliers emerged from printers across campus. A white supremacist organization claimed responsibility for the incident. Following the incident, Michelle Minter, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, issued a statement condemning the event.
“These flyers are offensive and contrary to the values of the University, which is committed to creating and maintaining an environment free from discrimination and harassment,” the statement read.
Sykes said that he wishes for the University to evaluate and respond to hate speech seriously to ensure a safe, secure environment for students of all backgrounds.
Responding to the incident, Sykes stated that the University’s Jewish community is a strong, tight, and welcoming group and has always felt like a home for him.
The Center for Jewish Life held a student-organized memorial service for Holocaust Remembrance Thursday night. Participants shared perspectives and narratives relevant to the Holocaust and held a memorial candle lighting ceremony.
University Media Specialist Min Pullan and Director of Public Safety Paul Ominsky did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.