Kent State police investigating swastika painted on campus
Kent State police are investigating a swastika that was painted on the university’s Front Campus.
An email sent to the university community stated, “We are not sure exactly when it was painted, but in the aftermath of the massacre in Buffalo, New York, its appearance serves as a reminder of the threat of extremism and the need for all of us to denounce the growing wave of racism, intolerance and violence in our nation.”
The university is “committed to creating a community of kindness and respect,” the email stated.
Students, individuals concerned about a student’s mental well-being and university employees were encouraged in the email to seek out university mental health resources.
The swastika follows the April distribution of antisemitic flyers placed on the lawns of several homes in Kent and Garrettsville, according to reporting in The Portager. The flyers falsely claimed both that members of President Joe Biden’s cabinet are Jewish and that six “Jewish corporations” own 96% of the media.
Kent Police Lt. Michael Lewis told The Portager a similar flier was also distributed along Miller Avenue in Kent on April 20. Lewis said he does not if there have been any incidents since then.
Elsewhere in Ohio this week, a Mentor Lake Catholic boys varsity lacrosse player was photographed with a swastika on his calf during a match with Orange on Monday night. Orange superintendent Dr. Lynn Campbell said alumni and parents also reported that a visitor was using racial slurs toward the Orange team. Lake Catholic said it's aware of the "very serious" allegations and is investigating.
In response to this week's incident on Kent State's campus, Hillel at Kent State sent out an email saying they are “deeply shocked and concerned to learn of a hateful and antisemitic act of vandalism.”
“[The swastika is] An antisemitic symbol that represents the Nazi regime that murdered over 6 million Jews and millions of others,” Hillel said in its statement. “The symbol has been embraced by other hate groups in an attempt to intimidate and traumatize the Jewish community.”
“With the rising wave of extremism in our communities,” Hillel said, “we cannot ignore this act of antisemitism and denounce hate of all forms in the strongest possible terms.”
Hillel also encouraged Jewish students, parents and friends to reach out to their staff if they have questions or need a “listening ear.”
The organization is also working with Kent State University, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Hillel International, ADL Cleveland and Kent State Police to “combat and stand up for our Jewish community and friends.”
The symbol has since been removed from the campus and Kent State police are still investigating.
This story was originally published by kentwired.com. Ideastream Public Media's Amy Eddings and Ryan Loew contributed reporting.