First, there was a swastika. Now, there’s “Hitler rules.”
University of Missouri administrators and police confirmed Tuesday they were looking into a new case of anti-Semitic graffiti found in a residence hall on the system’s Columbia campus. The message — “Hitler rules” scrawled in purple marker — went up between 12:30 and 2 a.m. Monday on a flier posted in Gateway Hall, the Columbia Missourian reported. It has since been removed and condemned.
“We are angry to hear about yet another anti-Semitic incident in one of our residence halls over the weekend. This type of vandalism attacks everyone,” interim Chancellor Hank Foley and interim Vice Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Chuck Henson said in a statement posted on the college's website Tuesday. “Our core values — including that of Respect — must become more than words on paper or a banner. They are the foundation of who we desire to be as a campus community and the way we all need to conduct ourselves.”
The vandalism comes about four months after dorm staff discovered a swastika drawn in feces in the university’s Gateway Hall. That October incident in part inspired students to launch massive protests against then-president Tim Wolfe for mishandling it and other racist occurrences on campus. Wolfe was ultimately forced to resign after a student hunger strike and threats from the football team.
The Jewish Student Organization noted in a statement that the “Hitler rules” message was the fourth Nazi reference at the school in the past year. Freshman Bradley Becker recently pleaded guilty to property damage after police said he was responsible for swastikas, the phrase “heil” and an Illuminati symbol displayed in Mark Twain Hall last April, according to the Missourian.
Local Rabbi Avraham Lapine told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this week the events wouldn't be so worrisome if they were isolated.
“It’s not that each one is so serious by itself; it’s serious because it keeps happening,” he said. “It raises a red flag.”