Jewish Fraternity at UC Davis Becomes Victim of Hate Crime

Members of UC Davis’ Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, awoke to two sizable swastikas spray-painted on the side of their off campus house on Saturday morning.

Standing up to the bigotry displayed on the walls of the Alpha Epsilon Pi were the members of the Council on American Islamic Relations Sacramento Valley. Executive Director Basim Elkarra said that the group “condemns all acts of hate targeting members of any faith or background, including rejecting anti-Semitism.”

Nathaniel Bernard, vice president of the Alpha Epsilon fraternity, felt as though the actions of those responsible for the defacing were threatening to reignite the racial tensions that were once present on campus.

He said, “Jewish people still can’t feel safe on their own campuses and in their own houses. Anti-Semitism still exist today. It’s not a fairy tale.”

This concern is likely even more prevalent after the Associated Students of UC Davis approved an advisory resolution requesting the university’s board refrain from doing business with companies with ties to Israel. The vandalism occurred soon after the advisory was passed, although a connection between the two issues hasn’t been confirmed yet by police.

Also denouncing the hateful imagery is the president of the Board of The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, Barry Board. He said of the vandalism, “This is especially heinous behavior given that this past week, the world commemorated the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Unfortunately, the lessons that history has taught us about the culture of hate have not been heeded by anyone.”

A statement released by UC Davis chancellor, Linda P.B. Katehi, read in part “This kind of behavior is not only repugnant and a gross violation of the values our university holds dear, it is unacceptable and must not be tolerated on our campus or anywhere else. No matter what religious, political or personal beliefs we hold, as members of a university community we have an obligation to treat each other with respect and dignity, even when we disagree. Nothing rivals a swastika as a more potent or offensive symbol of hatred and violence toward our Jewish community members, but this odious symbol is an affront to us all. As campus leaders, we are saddened and outraged that this occurred in our community.”

Police are actively investigating the vandalism, which UC Davis administrators have requested be classified as a hate crime. No suspects have been named or arrests made at this point.

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