“A little bit of shock and anger’: racist and antisemitic graffiti found at Davidson College

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DAVIDSON, N.C. (WBTV) – Messages and images of hate were etched at Davidson College this past weekend. The targets centered on the Jewish and Black communities. Despite the shockingly hateful words and images, people said it was not unexpected.

“I’m not surprised by this incident because there’s hate in this world,” said Rabbi Davie Jaffe, Co-Rabbi of Temple of Kol Tikvah of Lake Norman.

WBTV is not showing the graffiti due to the nature of the image, but it threatens violence against the Jewish and Black communities.

Ethan Rodier, a senior at Davidson College and the co-president of the Jewish Student Union said, “My first and immediate reaction was really just a little bit of shock and anger.”

Keith Dean, a senior at Davidson College and member of Kappa Alpha Psi) Fraternity, Inc, said “The Black community was really upset that something like that could happen on campus.”

Bailey Maierson, a sophomore at Davidson College said, “As somebody who is Jewish, I was personally offended and felt targeted.”

WBTV was told the graffiti was found on an outside classroom blackboard Sunday, showing a racial slur and an antisemitic symbol. Some students believe people off campus did it.

“My response right now is that I’m feeling pretty sad, kind of a deep sadness for the individuals who did this,” said Rabbi Jaffe.

“There’s still a bit of a simmer, right, like people are still kind of on edge because we really don’t know who it is,” said Dean

Davidson College released a statement saying:

“We are aware of racist and antisemitic graffiti found on a blackboard in an outdoor classroom that also appeared on social media. This act is threatening and an affront to the sense of community that binds us. At Davidson, all of us are called to honor the dignity and worth of every person. We value religious and racial diversity and inclusion, while we deplore racism and bigotry and advocate for a more just world.

It’s important that members of our community feel safe and supported on campus, including in parts of the campus that are open to all. Even though we know that racism and bigotry exist in our society, it is still shocking and distressing when they show up on campus in such a bold and aggressive way and with messages of violence. This violation wounds people we love and value. We all need to recognize and respect their pain. We need to speak up to defend and support them and our values as a community.

We will support the members of our community who feel targeted. Davidson College Campus Police are investigating and stepping up their presence to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff.

The Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, Chaplain’s Office and Counseling teams are available to students seeking support. Employees are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Addressing the actions

People hurt by the image and message want more from the college and community.

“But there were no actionable steps taken, or that said they were going to be taken, and that’s our biggest concern with this. Like, how can someone off campus come here, write down such disgusting things and see on repercussions for it,” Dean said,

“There needs to be some sort of antisemitic and racist conversation — this behavior is not okay,” said Maierson.

Rabbi Jaffe said, “I think education is the answer to get to know people that are different, to get to understand each other a little bit, and education in the form of that we’re not all the same, but that we’re all different.”

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