INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– An investigation is underway after a swastika was found on the wall of a dorm room at the University of Indianapolis.
The swastika was was discovered Monday night by two international students who were moving into their dorm room at Roberts Hall Monday night.
Shira and Michal Sasson are twin sisters from Israel who are going into their Junior year at UIndy and are both on the UIndy Women’s Basketball team. They say the couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the nazi symbol, drawn in red, on their dorm room wall.
“I was really upset, disappointed, I felt angry,” said Shira Sasson. “You don’t see this anywhere in Israel, so coming here it was very frightening that people still feel like they can put that symbol on the wall.”
“I was devastated, I was very disappointed, I felt betrayed,” Michal Sasson said. “I know that I live very far away from home. And that just made me feel like I’m even further away from home.”
The sisters say they immediately called a family friend and the UIndy Dean of Students. They say UIndy Police were there within minutes to take a report and launch an investigation.
“And we got checked into a hotel so we didn’t have to sleep next to swastikas,” Shira said.
“I’m very touched by how supportive they’re being, faculty and my friends here on campus,” Michal said.
“The faculty and all my friends are constantly reminding us that we are loved, we are part of the UIndy family and community,” Shira said.
“We are saddened and angered by this act of hate and bigotry. Although we do not yet know the source of this anti-Semitic act, we should all be reminded that the University of Indianapolis is a welcoming and inclusive environment, denounces actions such as these, and does not tolerate anti-Semitic actions or any behavior that is aligned with ideologies that promote hate. We will not condone any behavior that impedes our efforts at creating an environment founded on the principles of equity and inclusion,” UIndy said in a statement.
UIndy says it provided alternate accommodations for students and launched an investigation. The university says thousands of people from outside organizations rented housing facilities over the summer.
Counselors are available for any students affected by the incident.
Shira and Michal say they don’t know if the symbol was left specifically for them to find, and they say that doesn’t really matter.
“I don’t know what they meant by doing that, but that’s definitely a symbol of hate and we don’t have a place for that here,” Shira said. “We happen to be Jewish Israeli, it hurt a bit more, anyone who finds this on the wall has to report this and has to speak up.”
“It is very important that this does not go unspoken of, this is very serious,” Michal said.
Here is the rest of the statement from the university:
The University of Indianapolis has been in contact with Lindsey Mintz, Executive Director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, to ensure that we are working together to create appropriate responses, and discuss ways to create learning moments for our campus community.
It is our expectation that each member of the University of Indianapolis will continue to share their voice in ways that are respectful, thoughtful, and inclusive. It is important, at this time, that we reaffirm our commitment to our core values of equity, inclusion and respect, and work together to defend them. Collectively, we must maintain the welcoming and respectful community we enjoy as we learn, work and live. We will continue to create many opportunities to share, discuss and learn from each other about topics and issues that relate to equity and inclusion and reflect the rich diversity of our University and our world, and will look to continue education with students, faculty and staff. Every member of this University is a valued individual and there is never a place on our campus for expressions of hate and bigotry. Actions such as these displayed yesterday evening on our campus will not be tolerated by the University of Indianapolis and should not be tolerated anywhere in our nation.
UIndy has dealt with this issue before. In 2016, a swastika and anti-semitic slur was found in the Schwitzer Student Center.