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Swastikas found at UIndy, Purdue University

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File photo of the University of Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Mar. 8, 2016)– Swastikas were found this week on two university campuses in Indiana.

The University of Indianapolis sent a letter to students Tuesday informing them of vandalism that took place in the Schwitzer Student Center.

President Robert Manual said in the letter that someone scratched a swastika onto the bust of Au Ho-nien. The bust, along with several paintings are included in an exhibit in the building.

As the incident is investigated, Manual said the vandalism goes against the university’s core values.

“Such an act is against every core value on which our University stands; yet it reminds us we are not immune to intolerance and hate,” Manual said. “UIndy has not and will never tolerate such behavior.”

The full letter can be found below:

Dear UIndy Students:

Respect, faith, empiricism, and the celebration of intellectual and human diversity create the core traditions of the University of Indianapolis. During the past three years, our community has discussed the themes of race and ethnicity, religious freedom and liberties, social justice and human rights – areas profoundly impacting our nation and most recently, the public policies of our state. As our colleagues at Purdue, IU, Cornell, University of Missouri, Yale, and many other institutions around the country engage these questions, we are all reminded how these debates are central to understanding the role that higher education plays in the construction of a civil and educated society.

I am proud of our tradition of respectfully and openly engaging in discussions about the most critical issues of our time. We have engaged questions of same-sex marriage, our students recently debated the questions of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and human rights, and we have been in ongoing conversations about race and culture with all of our members.

In direct contrast to our efforts to celebrate our diversity, I was recently made aware that someone scratched a swastika on the bust of Au Ho-nien, located in Schwitzer Student Center. The incident is currently under investigation. Such an act is against every core value on which our University stands; yet it reminds us we are not immune to intolerance and hate. UIndy has not and will never tolerate such behavior.

Our University community is created by and comprised of people from many different views, experiences, cultures and beliefs. We are a great institution of higher education because of our diversity – and must do everything we can to continue to value this reality.

Later this week I will receive the outcomes of our second campus climate survey as well as recommendations from the Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. For the past six months, I have also been in conversations with our University Planning Commission and student groups around campus. Having been privileged to see a preview of these findings, I am empowering our university leadership to accelerate the implementation of many of the recommendations from these groups – most prominently, the creation of a position at UIndy to engage questions of diversity and inclusion on campus.

I am proud of our University’s longstanding tradition of engaging conversations about difficult societal issues and creating change. This is a moment for UIndy to continue its work in this area, and I am confident that together we are prepared for this challenge.

On Monday, Purudue University said a swastika was found written on a whiteboard outside the office for the American Studies Program in Heavilon Hall. The incident occurred sometime between 3:30 p.m. on March 4 and 7:30 a.m. March 7.

The following letter was sent from the College of Liberal Arts dean:

Dear Colleagues,

Yesterday, several of our colleagues came to the office to be confronted by a swastika and anti-semitic slur written on a whiteboard in the American Studies Program. This type of hateful expression is repulsive and outside of the bounds of civil discourse. It has no place in the College of Liberal Arts and Purdue University.

I know firsthand the human cost of virulent hate. Many in my family died during the horrors of World War II. The College of Liberal Arts and Purdue University are committed to free and open inquiry, while embracing and respecting our differences. I ask that we re-double our efforts to ensure we live up to our commitment to each other and to this university by engaging in meaningful dialogue, analysis, criticism and creative activity.