Several acts of vandalism have been reported on the 16th floor of East Campus, according to an email sent by Residential Life to the building’s residents.
The email reports that the nametags of two Chinese students, which were affixed to a suite door to identify the residents living there, had been burned in late January. Although no motive has been identified, Chinese and Asian students have recently been the target of racist discrimination, including a hateful message in Butler Library, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had the highest incidence of infection in China.
On the morning of Feb. 14, swastikas were found painted on the same floor on which the name tags were burned in January, though it is unclear if the incidents are connected. The vandalism recalls two incidents, one in 2007 and one in 2018, during which a Jewish Teachers College professor’s office was graffitied with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs.
While administrators announced the finding of the swastikas almost immediately after the incident occurred, the burning of nametags had happened weeks prior to the email. The reason for the delay in the timing of the announcement was unclear. Similarly, it remained unclear why the news was delayed when a student found an anti-black slur outside her room in Carman Hall in December 2019.
The email from Residential Life denounced the vandalism and recommended that anyone with information about it contact their resident adviser, Student Conduct and Community Standards, or Public Safety.
Read the full email below:
Dear East Campus Residents,
I write regarding a very serious matter for our community — two incidents of vandalism on the 16th floor of your residence hall.
In late January we were alerted that two name tags of Chinese students on a suite door had been burned. While the motivations behind this incident are unclear, we understand and are concerned about its impact on the Chinese community given the recent bias directed toward Chinese, Chinese-American and other Asian students. Regardless of motivation, it goes without saying that we stand against acts of bias and racism.
This morning we were notified that swastikas had been drawn on the walls of the 16th floor between two suites. This antisemitic symbol is in direct conflict with the University’s core value of inclusivity and has no place in our community. We stand strongly against antisemitism and all forms of hatred.
Although the door tags have been replaced and the swastikas have been removed, we must confront the emotional impact of incidents such as these, which go against the values of our community. If anyone has information about these acts, please notify your RA, report this information to Student Conduct and Community Standards or contact Public Safety.
East Campus, like all of our residence halls, is a community space, open to undergraduate Columbia College and Columbia Engineering residents, commuter students and guests of East Campus residents. In Residential Life, we are committed to working with you to ensure that East Campus remains a safe and inclusive community for all.
If you would like to connect with someone this weekend, please talk to your RA or the RA on duty. Either individual can also connect you with professional staff members on-call.
Associate Dean of Undergraduate Student Life and
Executive Director of Residential Life