By STEPHAN KOZUB
A Resident Assistant found a swastika in the Tierney Hall restroom at Rose Hill on Sept. 6, according to an email from John Carroll, associate vice president of the Fordham Department of Public Safety, sent to the Fordham community today at 5:42 p.m. Public Safety is investigating the reported symbol as a suspected hate crime.
A preliminary investigation found that the symbol was present at least since Aug. 27, when Fordham students returned to campus. Public Safety stated that they believe that it was made by “a member of one or another visiting groups who resided in Tierney Hall over the summer.”
A Public Safety supervisor responded to the Residents Assistant’s report, examined the symbol, and notified the NYPD. NYPD officers responded to the campus, and Fordham is awaiting the arrival of a member of the department’s Hate Crimes Task Force, according to the email statement.
In past incidences where swastikas have been found on campus, Public Safety referred to the symbols as “suspected bias incidents.” Referring to the swastika reported as a “suspected hate crime” marks a change in nomenclature that Carroll notes at the end of his email.
“The University has used the phrase ‘suspected bias incident’ in the past to describe hate speech on campus, nomenclature consistent with NYPD reporting of such crimes,” Carroll says in the email. “Some members of the University community have felt that this minimizes the incidents in question, and so we are adopting different language to describe them. This is no way indicates that we regard prior incidents labeled ‘suspected bias incidents’ as less serious offenses.”
Carroll adds that Public Safety will notify the Fordham community as more information becomes available and further developments are made in the case. He also encourages members of the Fordham community to report any time that they witness this type of hate speech on campus.
“We appreciate members of the University community coming forward to inform us of incidents like this, and we will do everything in our power to discover who drew the symbol in Tierney Hall,” Carroll says in the statement. “These types of crimes are notoriously difficult to solve without a witness or video footage, neither of which are available in a restroom stall, and are difficult to prevent for the same reasons. Regardless, such expressions of hate are an intolerable insult to the University community, and to their intended targets.”
This incident is not the first time that a swastika has been found on a Fordham campus. On Sept. 15, 2015, a swastika was found scratched into a stairwell wall in the Lalande Residence Hall at Rose Hill. Another swastika was found two months later on the Lincoln Center campus in a Lowenstein bathroom. A backwards swastika was reported in March, 2016, after being found in a trash room in McMahon Hall on the Lincoln Center campus. The most recent incident of this kind was in April 2017, when an alleged white power message was found on a desk at the Rose Hill campus.
The reported swastika also comes in the wake of University President Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., issuing a statement condemning the neo-Nazis and white supremacists who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Full Statement Below: