Jewish UMN student finds anti-Semitic message in Pioneer Hall dorm room

The message, part of an increase in anti-Semitic incidents on campus, reads “Nazis rule” and depicts a concentration camp.

A swastika with the words “Nazis Rule” drawn on a whiteboard inside a Jewish student’s dorm room at the University of Minnesota.

A swastika with the words “Nazis Rule” drawn on a whiteboard inside a Jewish student’s dorm room at the University of Minnesota.

by Mike Hendrickson

A Jewish student at the University of Minnesota found an anti-Semitic message in his dorm room Wednesday night.

In a Facebook post, the first-year, Pioneer Hall resident — who the Minnesota Daily is choosing not to name — said he came home and found the message that reads “Nazis rule,” accompanied by a swastika and a depiction of a Nazi concentration camp. The post had been shared over 400 times and had over 900 likes as of 6 p.m. Thursday.

In the post, the student questioned how the alleged perpetrator gained access to the whiteboard inside his dorm room.

“Why would you do this? Do you feel empowered doing this? What benefit do you gain by making a person feel afraid?,” the student said in his post.

In a statement posted online, the University’s Bias Response and Referral network said the incident comes amid an increase in reports of similar depictions on campus. Since December, there have been seven reports of swastikas, neo-Nazi propaganda and other anti-Semitic graffiti, mirroring a national trend, according to the statement.

“While this was not an isolated incident … this case was particularly disturbing as it was seemingly directed towards a specific person,” the statement read. “We are disturbed by this trend as well as other acts of vandalism and graffiti that have been reported to us over the last months that target people based on race, religion, sexuality, gender identity or immigration status.”

The case has been referred to the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, according to the University’s statement.

Rabbi Yitzi Steiner, co-director of the Rohr Center for Jewish Student Life at the University, said in a statement that he spoke to the student and he has filed reports with the appropriate authorities.

“We have been in touch with the student who was targeted, and while he is shaken, he has shown remarkable resilience,” Steiner said in the statement.

The drawing on the student’s whiteboard is the second anti-Semitic incident on the University’s campus in two weeks, Steiner wrote. Another swastika was found drawn in the snow on a practice football field on Jan. 20.

The Minnesota Hillel and Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas also condemned the incident, saying it will continue to monitor the situation and urged anyone with information about the incident to come forward.

“As members of the Jewish and University community, we stand with others who have been victimized by hate on campus this year,” the statement read. “We join our partners and friends in our dedication to creating a campus climate where all are valued and feel safe.”

The affected student declined to comment.