February 28, 2020

Swastika Found at Duke University

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

A swastika was found at Duke University on Feb. 12.

The student-run Duke Chronicle reported that the swastika was painted on a mural of Rick Sanchez, one of the main characters in the animated show “Rick and Morty.” The mural was located on the East Campus Bridge.

The swastika was later painted over with the words “stop hate love is free.”

The university condemned the swastika.

“Scrawling a symbol of hate may have been an effort to intimidate the Duke community, but instead it will simply strengthen our resolve to denounce and combat anti-Semitism and bigotry in all its forms,” Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations Michael Schoenfeld told the Chronicle in an email.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Washington, D.C. Education Director Seth Gordon-Lipkin said in a statement, “ADL is deeply concerned about reports of a swastika painted near the East Campus Bridge at Duke University, another incident that demonstrates the disturbing rise in expressions of bigotry on campuses throughout the country aimed at intimidating students from marginalized communities, including Jews. We are encouraged by the University’s statement condemning this act of hate and the actions of others who swiftly covered up this hate symbol and replaced it with messages of inclusion and acceptance.”

In November 2018, a swastika was drawn on an East Campus Bridge mural honoring the 11 Jews who died in the October 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The bridge is known as a “free expression place,” according to the Chronicle. Two other swastikas were found during the fall at that time, including one carved in a pumpkin and a swastika drawn on a bathroom door.

StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein said in a statement at the time, “This is yet another reminder that anti-Semitism on campus is alive and well, and that we must all do more to fight it.”