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Columbia, NYPD silent on investigation into swastika reportedly found on campus two months ago

No one will provide a photo of the swastika

Columbia University and the New York Police Department have remained almost completely quiet on the status of an investigation into a swastika allegedly found on the Ivy League campus on October 6.

Someone discovered the symbol shortly after students voted in favor of the school divesting from Israel. The university quickly condemned the Nazi logo and anti-Semitism.

While university officials were quick to condemn the swastika, they have been slow to provide requested information and evidence.

The College Fix reached out via email to Caroline Adelman, the media relations director for Columbia, and asked for a status of the investigation, a photo of the swastika, and if the university had any leads on who might have placed it on the library steps.

Adelman told The Fix to reach out to the NYPD and shared the school’s past statement condemning the incident. Adelman did not respond to a follow-up email on Tuesday morning reiterating a request for a photo of the swastika and a question if the NYPD had taken over the case.

MORE: Smith College remains tight-lipped about swastika investigation

The Fix also asked Adelman for the name of the police liaison the school worked with on this case so he or she could be directly asked for an update, but did not receive a response.

Deidre Fuchs, the campus police director of investigations, did not respond to multiple emailed requests in the past week seeking the same information.

The city’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes and the city police department have been equally unhelpful in providing information.

An unsigned email from the city hate crime prevention office referred The Fix to the NYPD Hate Crime Task Force and the media relations email for the police department.

The police department did not respond to three emailed requests for comment from The Fix in the past week. The Fix asked the police department for an update on the investigation, if the investigation was still open, and if it had any leads as to who committed the vandalism, but did not receive a response.

The task force did not respond to an emailed request for comment on Monday and on Tuesday morning, asking for a status update, a photo of the swastika and a copy of the report filed by Columbia.

At the time of the vandalization, the Ivy League school’s chapter of Students Supporting Israel said that the vandalism of the library steps had a connection to a recent student referendum vote in support of a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

“It is not a coincidence that this despicable act of antisemitism occured [sic] only days after a BDS referendum was passed at Columbia College,” the group wrote in an October 8 Facebook post.


“We hope, but based on the past doubtful, that the administration will track and punish the racist bigots responsible for the swastika,” the group said.

The administration blamed the swastika on “divisions” in the country.

“The divisions that now roil our nation and the world have given rise to increasing acts of bias and hate in far too many communities,” Suzanne Goldberg, the student life executive director said in an October 7 statement. “Antisemitism does not have a place at Columbia, as our community strives every day to remain a welcoming and inclusive place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

MORE: How to tell a campus hoax crime from the real thing

IMAGE: Ad Meskens/Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author
Asher Notheis -- Liberty University