The University of Missouri Police Department is investigating another report of an anti-Semitic incident at an MU residence hall.
MUPD officials tell us residence life staff found the words “Hitler rules” written on a bulletin board at Gateway residence hall around 2 a.m. Monday.
MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley and the Interim Chancellor for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Chuck Henson issued a statement Tuesday morning.
It reads, “We are angry to hear about yet another anti-Semitic incident in one of our residence halls over the weekend. This type of vandalism attacks everyone. Our core values—including that of Respect—must become more than words on paper or a banner. They are the foundation of who we desire to be as a campus community and the way we all need to conduct ourselves.
This incident is currently being investigated by the MU Police Department and the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX. In the meantime, we’ll continue to talk more about the importance of Respect in fostering a campus culture that enables all students to feel included and valued in our community.”
Christian Basi, the university spokesperson, said whoever is involved could face serious consequences, such as expulsion, if the university finds that they broke the student code of conduct.
“There’s no need for that type of language,” he said. “We’re here to inspire a culture of respect.”
He said the phrase is something that “creates the perception of a non-inclusive environment.”
ABC17 News talked with students and faculty at Hillel, the Jewish Campus Center Tuesday.
MU student Jared Kaufman said he lived in Mark Twain last year, where anti-Semitic graffiti was found.
“When things like this happen it makes me nervous to go home and that’s not something that anyone should feel,” he said. “It’s very unsettling.”
He agreed with the administration that the phrase lacked respect and doesn’t just affect the Jewish community.
“This is something everybody should take notice of,” he said. “They tell their friends and they try to catch people who they see are about to do this, watch out for each other, or take it upon themselves to change their own behavior.
An act of hatred against one group affects everybody,” he said.
Jeanne Snodgrass is the executive director of Hilell.
She said whatever the intent of the phrase was, it has serious consequences for all minority groups.
“There is a very real fear of threat,” she said. “It doesn’t in that case matter why it was done, just the fact that it happened and that’s what has to be dealt with.”
She also recommended more education for people to understand how comments like “Hitler rules” could have an effect on many different groups within the MU community.
Snodgrass and Kaufman both said they thought the prompt response from administration was a step in the right direction.
“It’s not something we’ve seen in the past so I’m happy that they let the campus community know that from the administration’s perspective, this was is not acceptable,” said Kaufman.
“I think it’s really important when leadership is able to step up and say ‘this is not okay, this does not reflect values and our belief system as a university,'” she said. “To see the administration taking that step and actually making a statement, Residential Life acknowledging what the particular incident was makes me think we’re moving in a good direction.”