Breaking: Swastika Discovered in Penrose Study Room

Christy Carley, News Editor

On Monday February 26, 2018 at 6:07 p.m. President Kathy Murray sent an email alerting the Whitman Community that a swastika had been discovered on dry-erase board in a Penrose Library study room Monday morning. Murray reported that the swastika was erased soon after discovery.

“To say this kind of writing is highly inappropriate is an understatement,” Murray wrote in her email. “I want to be very clear: recreating this symbol of hate is reprehensible and behavior like this has no place within the Whitman community.”

As of now, no information has been released about who drew the swastika.

“We are unsure if this act was committed by someone who is part of the Whitman community or not and have spent the afternoon trying to determine who is responsible,” Murray wrote.

“It is my sincere hope that this is an isolated incident,” she added.

This is not the first time white-supremacist propaganda has been discovered in Penrose, however.

Last fall, The Wire reported that white nationalist flyers were discovered between the pages of several books at the library.

Additionally, The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported on data released by the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that reveals an upsurge of hate crimes on college campuses in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential Election. According to The Chronicle, the study defined hate crimes as “offenses motivated by biases of race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.”

Murray encouraged those in need of support to contact the Dean of Students Office (527-5158) or the Counseling Center (527-5195).

*Editor’s note Tuesday February 27, 10:10 a.m.: According to an article published today by Inside Higher Ed, the Anti-Defamation League reported that 2017 saw an 89% increase in anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses from 2016. 

**Editor’s note Wednesday February 28 6:20 p.m.: The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life has partnered with Hillel Shalom, a Jewish organization for Whitman students, staff and faculty, to create an art project entitled “No Place for Hate.” Members of the Whitman community will have the opportunity to participate in the project by writing a message on a small square that will be mounted and displayed on campus next week. Supplies for the project will be available in the Reid Lobby from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. this Thursday and Friday.

The Wire will continue to update this article as more information arises. Please visit our Contact Us page to get in touch with the editors of The Wire.

Christy Carley is an employee of the Penrose Library Circulation Desk and serves as a student representative on the Library Committee.