Someone tagged offices with antisemitic vandalism and wrote a racist message on a whiteboard at the Campus Y at UNC-Chapel Hill. The sandy pink building has been the site of social justice work at the university for the last 160 years.
The break-in and vandalism were reported to UNC Campus Police around 4 p.m. Sunday; the university has already issued two warrants for a suspect.
“Hateful vandalism is not acceptable anywhere on our campus, but this breach of an established organization that promotes equality and justice is particularly egregious,” Provost and Vice Chancellor Bob Blouin said in a message to the Carolina community.
Aside from its 31 committees, the Campus Y has been a meeting place for activists for decades. During non-COVID years, students scatter around the building to do homework and sip coffee from the Meantime Café.
The organization shared a statement on Facebook about the break-in Monday afternoon, mentioning that some of it “suggested threats to safety” through symbols and messaging.
“We urge everyone to continue taking extra precautions,” organization leaders said in a statement. “Stay in pairs on campus when possible; maintain an awareness of your surroundings; and reach out to CAPS for mental health support.”
Antisemitic vandalism hit an all-time high in 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In 2018, a Duke University mural in honor of the victims of the Tree of Life Synagogue attack in Pittsburgh was tagged with “a large, red swastika.”
The Anti-Defamation League has reported 18 antisemitic incidents (not including the one at the Campus Y) since the start of 2021. Last week, someone hung a Nazi flag from a tree in Wake County. Students at N.C. State University also held a protest last week over the continued employment of an alleged Proud Boy at the school.
Duke University experts have also warned the public that the threat of far-right extremists will far outlast Trump’s presidency. Locally, Triangle Jewish Voice for Peace has shared concerns over comments from U.S. Representative Madison Cawthorn of western North Carolina and Mike Pompeo (the far-right, now-former secretary of state who is widely considered to be weighing a presidential bid).
UNC Campus Police are looking for more information about the event. There will also be an increased police presence around the building over the next few days, according to school officials.
UPDATE: The co-presidents of the Campus Y provided further information about the damage on the organization’s Facebook page. A paper tombstone with the words “Tar Heel Born, now Tar Heel Dead” was found alongside a large shovel in their office. Aside from this, swastikas, racial slurs, and Confederate flag imagery were found in the building. Newspapers and posters were torn up, and cabinets were emptied.
The statement makes it clear that despite this, Campus Y leadership doesn’t want to contribute to mass incarceration and heavy policing.
“We hope that this individual is apprehended for the safety of ourselves and our community; however, we truly hope they receive the proper support and rehabilitation necessary to re-engage with society in a healthy way,” the duo said in the statement.
The post states that the suspect left personal information in the building; however, he has not been caught.
As we are…
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