‘Decorations on a residence hall door had been intentionally set on fire,’ according to the campus police department
A Jewish student at Drexel University was targeted in an apparently antisemitic incident just days after Hamas’s deadly terror attacks.
An unknown assailant lit the student’s dorm room door on fire at the Philadelphia university.
The College Fix obtained an email the Drexel Public Safety Office sent to students the morning after the fire on the evening of Oct. 10, a few days following the Oct. 7 Hamas invasion. According to the email, the “Philadelphia Fire Department responded, and it was determined that decorations on a residence hall door had been intentionally set on fire.”
The Drexel Public Safety daily incident report lists the arson investigation as “pending” as of Sunday.
The Fix reached out to DPS and the Philadelphia Fire Department twice for comment and to request incident report copies, but both declined. The Fix reached out to DPS on Oct. 26 to ask whether the investigation is still pending. DPS referred The Fix to media relations.
Drexel University President John Fry issued an Oct. 11 statement in reference to the incident.
“Unfortunately, we were made aware of a distressing situation that included destruction inside one of our residence halls,” Fry wrote. “Thankfully, no one was injured. … The investigation into this incident is ongoing, and we will update the community once it has concluded.”
The Fix reached out to Drexel University media relations via email on Oct. 12 and 25 for an update on the investigation. University media relations did not reply.
The group Stop AntiSemitism reported “an observant Jewish student’s dorm room door was set on fire” in an Oct. 11 post on X.
Drexel University – an observant Jewish student’s dorm room door was set on fire.
No other door was vandalized and the student believed she was targeted due to her outspoken support of Israel.
Police are investigating this as a possible hate crime. pic.twitter.com/ifFDpLiEdg
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 11, 2023
“No other door was vandalized and the student believed she was targeted due to her outspoken support of Israel,” the group stated.
Three days after the arson attack, an unknown assailant defaced a campus women’s bathroom with antisemitic graffiti, according to another statement from Fry.
Fry called that incident, which occurred “shortly before the start of Shabbat,” a “cowardly and reprehensible act [that] violates our core principles.”
Campus antisemitism has been on the rise, including in violent protests celebrating the Hamas terrorist attacks, The Fix has reported.
An Israel-supporting professor hoisting Israel’s flag was pushed by pro-Palestinian students. A Jewish student was brought to tears as her peers shouted “intifada” all around her. An Israeli student was assaulted after posting photos of hostages.
A Cornell University professor who attended one protest described the attacks as “exhilarating” and “energizing.”
Of college-aged adults 18 to 24 years, 51 percent polled believed the Hamas terrorist attacks were “justified by the grievances of Palestinians,” The Fix reported last week.
In the same poll, co-conducted by Harvard Center for American Political Studies and market research company Harris on Oct. 19, three-quarters of respondents overall disagreed the attacks were justified. Only the 18-to-24 demographic voiced majority support for the attacks.
These college-aged adults also called the attacks “genocidal” by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent.
When asked whether the United States should support Israel, Hamas, or neither, 29 percent of college-aged adults surveyed said the United States should “back Hamas.”