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The professor believes the crime is part of a ‘changing culture’ and rise in anti-Semiticism.
Midlarsky found the anti-Semitic graffiti on the wall in the entryway to her office in the Teachers College building, along with a derogatory slang used against the Jewish community, around 1pm on Wednesday. She then reported it to campus security, according to the Columbia Spectator, the university newspaper.
Columbia Teacher’s College professor’s office vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti https://t.co/CqUDugjyrF
— Columbia Spectator (@ColumbiaSpec) November 29, 2018
The NYPD’s hate crime unite is currently investigating the issue, Detective Martin Brown told the Daily Dot. “It’s being classified as a ‘criminal misfit,” he said.
He confirmed the NYPD was notified around 1:30pm on Wednesday about “two swastikas written on the walls inside the location.”
“I was in shock,” Midlarsky told the Columbia Spectator. “I stopped for a moment, because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” (Midlarsky did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment as of this posting.)
“Horrific alleged act of #antisemitic hate. We have seen so many examples of painful #antisemitic vandalism over the past month and year across the region and it is becoming #normalized,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York posted on Facebook this morning.
“We unequivocally condemn any expression of hatred, which has no place in our society,” Thomas Bailey, president of Teacher’s College said in a statement on Wednesday. “We are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.”
Midlarsky, a professor of psychology who focuses her research on Holocaust, faced a similar incident more than 10 years ago. In 2007, her office door was spray-painted with swastikas and she received “anti-Semitic materials” in the mail, including a “demeaning” cartoon and a book denying the Holocaust.
Midlarsky told the Columbia Spectator that while the 2007 incident was “horrifying but not surprising,” she believes Wednesday’s crime was part of a larger “changing culture” and a nationwide rise in anti-Semitic activities.
According to ADL research, anti-Semitic incidents shot up by more than 50 percent in 2017 from the previous year, marking the largest jump and second highest record since the organization began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque