Saturday, October 21, 2017
Last updated: 2 years ago

Anti-Semitic graffiti found in UBC residence

A swastika with the caption "Heil Hitler" was discovered in Nootka House in Totem Park on Sunday evening. File photo Kaitlyn Tissington / The Ubyssey

A swastika with the caption “Heil Hitler” was discovered in Nootka House in Totem Park on Sunday evening. File photo Kaitlyn Tissington / The Ubyssey

A swastika with the caption “Heil Hitler” was discovered in Nootka House in Totem Park last Sunday evening.

According to Kyle Lethbridge, residence life manager for Totem Park North, the graffiti, which was written on the chalkboard in the first-floor house lounge, was promptly removed by a residence student leader.

“We take this incident very seriously and are following up as much as we can given the circumstances,” said Lethbridge. He said that since the graffiti was cleaned up before any photos were taken, the RCMP will not be able to investigate. However, Lethbridge said he has been in contact with the RCMP on how to deal with the incident.

“Should we be able to identify responsibility, our intent is to determine what consequence may be appropriate, and help the individuals responsible to reflect on their conduct’s negative impact on the larger residence community,” Lethbridge said.

“It makes you feel unsafe in your own home,” said Noah Kussin, an international student from Los Angeles and Jewish resident of Nootka.

“I know a lot of other international students — you’re coming to a new country, we’re here, we want to be included, we want to be a part of everything. And to see someone do something that basically says you are not allowed here, we do not want you here, get out, whether they think it’s a joke or something that they can just do — it’s a jarring experience and it really makes you feel unsafe,” said Kussen.

Lethbridge said the residence life staff are offering support to individuals who are distressed by the incident.

Nootka House president Tracey Gaydosh said this incident contrasts sharply with the regular atmosphere of Nootka.

“Nootka is our house, our home, and it has been built up this year through acceptance of diversity,” said Gaydosh. “It is sad to see that everyone’s hard work to make Nootka an amazing community will be overshadowed by this act, when in reality Nootka is a place of acceptance and love and has even won a campus-wide ‘community of the month’ [award] this year.”

UPDATE: A previous version of this article mentioned that the graffiti was found two days after the end of Israeli Apartheid week. That information was meant to provide some context on recent campus events, not explain the motivation behind drawing the graffiti. In order to avoid confusion, we have removed the line from the article.

  • Hayp

    Saying it feels like “..you are not allowed here, we do not want you here, get out..” only makes sense if you know that the person responsible for the graffiti is targeting international students. If you don’t know whether or not that is true, then it has nothing to do with people being from Canada or not. It is offensive regardless of being an international or domestic student.

  • 80085

    There are swastikas like that pretty much on every sketchy wall in Europe. It doesn’t mean the person who drew it is a Jew-hating Nazi who will kill soon, calm down guys.

    All it means is that the creator is an uneducated, insensible a-hole who wants to appear “cool” and “evil” by drawing something so “forbidden” on a public wall and possibly see others’ reactions to it.

    It’s stupid and offensive, but from my view of a European who sees this on a daily basis (along with super left wing, super right wing, anti foreigners, and all other extremist-ish slogans), this reaction is so darn Canadian. Nothing ever happens here, so let’s blow up the little problems we have to a national scandal.

    • Anonymous

      And Europe has no antisemitism problem, right?

      I know that the person who drew it is probably not consciously antisemitic, but that doesn’t mean it’s not damaging. Being a Jew, the Nazi swastika represents the murder of my family members. It represents a regime that would have murdered me too had I been born some decades prior, all in order to attempt to render Europe Judenrein (“clean of Jews”). The diaspora and the intergenerational trauma caused by the Holocaust have effects to this day.

      It’s a pretty damn serious issue when the symbol of the systematic genocide of a people is displayed in a public place. I don’t see how it’s substantially different than writing “KILL ALL [insert ethnic group here] PEOPLE”.

  • 80085

    Also: Someone found a chalk-drawn swastika and the first thing Ubyssey does is to track down a Jewish student for an interview? Seriously?

  • Joel Barde

    This lede is appalling — and the Ubyssey should really think about rewriting it.

    What is the relationship between Israeli Apartheid week and a swastika that was written on a chalk board? Is there any evidence linking them together?

    In the absence of any, to suggest that there is really shoddy journalism.

  • Alex

    This is a repulsively written article. The most glaring gaffe here is the Ubyssey’s editorial decision to somehow implicate Israeli Apartheid Week with a hate crime. Please follow up immediately with an explanation for your decision to include this absolutely unnecessary detail in your intro paragraph. This just stinks, you guys. Seriously.

  • Harry Abrams

    This kind of crude graffiti is actually quite typical of the sickos behind Israel hate week. It’s like burning a cross on a lawn to intimidate people of colour. UBC should should expel whoever they catch doing this as well as get police involved.

  • یاس

    This article begins with the comparison of the anti-Semitic swastika with an unrelated student-organized apartheid awareness week. The former is a terrible hate crime directed towards Jews and the latter highlights a human rights crisis involving the current Israeli occupation and apartheid of the Palestinian people. To conflate the two is not only ignorant but grossly dismissive and insensitive to the diverging issues. Furthermore, to create a narrative portraying an event organized by a student organization as causal to an act of vandalism in a dormitory is an act of sensationalism.

    Frankly, as a student at UBC and a member of the international community, I expect better from members of the journalistic and political arena. In the future, students should make an effort to keep one another informed by naming issues for what they are, free of sentimentality and fiction.

  • SamXie

    Israel Apartheid week is filled with vicious rhetoric that demonizes not just Israelis, but their Jewish supporters. It definitely increases the tension on campus, so its very likely the two incidents are related. Just wondering- did any group or individual pressure the Ubyssey to delete this very important and very relevant context?