An anti-Semitic message was discovered written on the outside of CSU’s Union Building, located at 1836 Euclid Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 21, just days before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism.
The suspect or suspects have not yet been identified.
“Cleveland State University strongly condemns this type of unacceptable behavior,” reads an email sent by the university Friday morning. “We embrace and support a culture of diversity and inclusion -and as a community of scholars (and human beings), we expect our students, faculty, staff and visitors to treat everyone with dignity and respect.”
This is not the first incident of hate speech graffiti reported on campus this year, particularly against the Jewish community. On Feb. 21, Fenn Tower staff found a bulletin board in the residence hall vandalized with an anti-Semitic message.
The university responded similarly then, condemning the behavior as illegal, a violation of CSU policy and hurtful.
This recent incident occurred just days before Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, which is the most sacred day of the year for Jewish communities across the world. Yom Kippur will be observed from Sunday, Sept. 24 to Monday, Sept. 25.
Between 2021 and 2022, anti-Semitic hate crimes increased by 36% in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The hate crimes considered in these statistics are harassment, vandalism and assault. Anti-Semitic hate crimes on college campuses increased by 41%.
Anti-Jewish incidents constituted more than half of all religious hate crimes in 2021 nationwide, with Anti-Sikh incidents following at 11.6%, according to the Department of Justice.
An uptick of anti-Semitism has been seen in Ohio over the last few years, hitting an all-time high in 2021.
The Office of Institutional Equality is investigating the incident and asking anyone who can assist in finding the suspect(s) to reach out at (216) 687-2223 or file an anonymous report via Ethics Point or CSU’s Report a Concern website.
The Counseling Center at CSU is available for students affected by the incident. You can make an appointment online or by calling (216) 687-2277. Crisis hours are available without appointment from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.