Swastikas found in Oxford University lavatories

Swastika graffiti has been found in lavatories at an Oxford University college in the latest incident of anti-Semitism at the university.

Two of the symbols were reportedly found in the unisex lavatories at Regent’s Park College by a member of staff on Tuesday morning and were removed.

The college condemned the act as “completely unacceptable”.

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The incident comes as pro-Palestinian protests at the university intensified this week.

Seventeen activists were arrested by police after occupying an administrative office on Wellington Square on Thursday. All 17 have been released on conditional bail.

An encampment is still in place outside the Pitt Rivers Museum more than two weeks after it was established. 

A group of activists have also set up camp outside Radcliffe Camera, the university library.

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Oxford students have raised concerns over anti-Semitism on campus since the Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel on Oct 7.

Earlier this month, students sent a letter to the university’s vice-chancellor detailing 70 incidents on campus.

Following the discovery of the swastika symbols on Tuesday, Dr Lynn Robson, the dean and safeguarding lead at Regent’s Park College, sent an email stating that “anti-Semitic graffiti” had been found.

Students protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza at Oxford University

Students protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza at Oxford University

Credit: Isabel Infantes/Reuters

In the email, which was reported by The Times, she said: “We do not tolerate any instances of abuse, offensive behaviour, open or covert hostility, directed at others on the grounds of race, religion or belief.”

But Jewish students at the university have criticised the college for not doing more to find the perpetrators.

Harry Hatwell, 26, a student at St John’s, told The Times: “Their response reeks of, ‘This happened, but let’s all move on’.

“The college hasn’t asked, ‘If you know who it was, come forward’. 

“The goal is for everything to just go on as normal while the college can reiterate, ‘We’re still inclusive’. And yet the underlying issue isn’t dealt with.”

Another student, from Regent’s Park College, told the newspaper: “It’s taken a massive toll – many fellow Jewish and Israeli students are struggling academically as a result of the atmosphere.”

In response to the criticism, the college said it would be “irresponsible” to give details of its investigation in public.

In a statement, the personal assistant to the principal of the college said: “The college has made it clear that it takes this incident extremely seriously and that it is completely unacceptable.

“It is a distortion of our statement to suggest otherwise. We encourage those who can assist us in identifying those responsible to do so, and it would be irresponsible of us to set out in public investigatory steps being taken.

“We are actively supporting our students, and will continue to do all we can, including engagement with the statutory authorities, to ensure that all our students feel safe within our college community.”

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