Stanford Department of Public Safety investigating swastika-like symbol
Investigators will be interviewing members of the campus community to determine if they can narrow the timeframe in which the vandalism occurred.
The Stanford University Department of Public Safety (DPS) is investigating a September incident in which a swastika-like symbol appeared on an exterior wall of Lantana Hall, a student residence that is part of the Gerhard Casper Quad on Escondido Road.
Jon Hernandez, a DPS lieutenant, said he was told that the symbol appeared sometime during the first five days of September. Lantana Hall’s housing manager reported the incident on Sept. 6, and Stanford DPS took photographs of the graffiti that day.
Hernandez said investigators will be interviewing members of the campus community to determine if they can narrow the timeframe in which the vandalism occurred.
“At present, we have no witnesses, no video surveillance and no leads,” he said. “The five-day timeframe of the crime adds another degree of difficulty to our investigation.”
Hernandez said the perpetrator, who used a tar-like or grease-like substance, left no evidence at the scene. However, police believe it could be the same person responsible for 23 other graffiti incidents at various campus locations with images resembling swastikas since December 2016. Stanford DPS launched an investigation into those incidents in January 2017. To date, no one has been charged with those crimes.
In response to the incident, Rabbi Jessica Kirschner, executive director of Hillel@Stanford, sent a letter to members of the university’s Jewish community and their supporters.
“While the police do their work to apprehend the perpetrator, we at Hillel are all the more committed to our work in the face of incidents like these,” she wrote. “We are a welcoming home for Jewish people in the campus community, and we are devoted to building a strong, resilient Jewish community in the heart of Stanford. In light of incidents like these directed toward Jews and other people, we are bringing renewed energy to building relationships across campus with groups who may share our feelings of vulnerability, and we are committed to a vision of a university community where all members feel secure and at home.”
Stanford DPS asks the community to call (650) 329-2413 (24-hour hotline) with any information they have concerning the incidents.