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Antisemitic graffiti reported in prestigious women’s college

December 9, 2021 GMT

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (AP) — A swastika and a racial slur targeting Jews were found in a bathroom at Mount Holyoke College earlier this week, the third antisemitic incident reported at the prestigious women’s school this fall, the Anti-Defamation League in New England said Thursday.

The graffiti, written in black marker on tile, was reported to ADL-New England on Tuesday by a parent of a student at the school, the organization’s deputy regional director, Peggy Shukur, told The Associated Press.

It was not clear if the graffiti was in a dorm bathroom or a bathroom in another building on the South Hadley campus, she said.

An email and voicemail seeking comment were left with a Mount Holyoke spokesperson.

The ADL in October received two reports of swastikas and slurs written in dorm bathrooms at the school, Shukur said. In at least one case, they were written on a mirror.

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“The college’s leadership team and I understand the harm and fear this symbol has provoked on our campus,” the school’s president, Sonya Stephens, said in a letter to the community after an October incident, according to an online story in the Mount Holyoke News student newspaper. “We join you in both anger and grief and condemn in the strongest terms this provocation and all symbols of hate, which have no place on our campus.”

The school has about 2,200 students, according to its website.

There have been several high-profile antisemitic incidents in Massachusetts this year. Last spring a Massachusetts high school football team was found to be using antisemitic language during its on-field play calling.

In October, a Jewish religious symbol known as a mezuzah was desecrated at Northeastern University’s Hillel House near the school’s Boston campus. And in the summer, a rabbi was stabbed outside a Jewish school in Boston.