Macalester College Students React After Swastika Found Drawn on Campus

October 29, 2018 07:01 PM

For many students at Macalester College, the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh Synagogue Saturday was deeply personal.

The tragedy was on Em Hayward’s mind when she returned to her dorm that day.

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“I had just come back from getting coffee and talking to a lot of my friends who attended the synagogue where the shooting happened,” said Hayward.

Hayward is an RA on the first floor of Turck Hall.

“We have a submission box which is about alcohol education right now, I went into to see if there were any suggestions and found a swastika drawn on one of the submission cards,” she said. “I kind of went, woah.”

RELATED: School Officials Report Swastika Drawn on Comment Card at Macalester 

Campus security and St. Paul Police are now investigating.

“The conversations I had with security and I had with residential life were really, really positive, very supportive,” said Hayward. “A lot of checking in on each other and working together.”

The college released a statement, which read in part: “Hate speech, in any form, is unacceptable in our community. Macalester strives to build a just and inclusive community and an educational environment that encourages our students to value and promote diversity and inclusion on campus and in the world. We are working as a community to address recent incidents of hate speech and to provide support to students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have felt particularly impacted by these incidents.”

It’s a situation students have faced before.

At the beginning of October, two swastikas were found drawn on a library table on the Macalester campus. On Oct. 11, one was found on a costume being stored on campus. Campus security also investigated another case of hate-oriented graffiti earlier in the semester.


More from KSTP: 

Two Swastikas Found Drawn in Macalester Library

Macalester Investigating Swastikas, Anti-Arab Vandalism on Campus


In addition, there were at least three other cases of swastikas being drawn on campus last fall semester.

“It points to a larger issue how people don't seem to be able to empathize with how big of an issue it can really be and what it represents,” said Sam Dornfest, a freshman.

He told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS isn't just a Macalester College problem, it's something he also noticed in high school.

“People know about the Holocaust but they don’t really think about the impact of it and how it still has really strong echoes today,” said Dornfest. “Looking even further back in a lot of Jewish history, just how much discrimination and passive discrimination in this way shows how not a lot has changed.”

He hopes this can be a learning opportunity.

“You have to empathize with people a bit more on the subject and also be a bit more aware of the cultural implications, especially now,” said Dornfest.

Hayward told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they planned to hold a meeting with students on Monday evening to talk about how it has affected them.


It's unclear whether any of the recent hate speech incidents at Macalester College will ultimately be characterized as hate crimes. Colleges and universities are legally required to publish crime statistics, including information on hate crimes. Below are the reported hate crimes from schools in the metro area in 2017.
 


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Callan Gray

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