The New York Police Department is investigating a possible hate crime after a Jewish professor who teaches the Holocaust at Columbia University’s Teachers College found swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs spray-painted on the walls of her office on Wednesday.
Two swastikas and the derogatory term “Yid” were painted in red in the entryway to Elizabeth Midlarsky’s office, which is not shared with other staff, the student newspaper Columbia Daily Spectator reported Thursday.
“I was in shock,” Ms. Midlarsky told the paper. “I stopped for a moment, because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
“I was so shaky, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it,” she told CNN.
According to the Daily Spectator, all Teachers College academic buildings require ID for entry, either from the Teachers College or other affiliated schools.
Thomas Bailey, the president of Columbia’s Teachers College, said in a statement Wednesday, that the school is working with police to find the perpetrator of “this hateful act.”
“We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society,” he said. “We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.”
Ms. Midlarsky’s office was previously targeted in 2007, when a swastika was spray-painted on her office door and anti-Semitic flyers left in her mailbox after she protested a campus speech by then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Daily Spectator reported.
This time, however, Ms. Midlarsky suggested to CNN that the vandalism was “connected to a trend and upsurge in anti-Semitism that we’ve seen in recent years.”
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