The Ohio State University Oval

The Ohio State University Oval

Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson and other members of the university administration and student government roundly rejected antisemitism and racism in a Nov. 15 letter sent to students, faculty and staff.

“There is no room for hate in our home,” the letter signed by Johnson and 15 others said.

The signatories included the co-leaders of the Wexner Medical Center, vice provost for inclusive excellence and various student government leaders, such as the president of the undergraduate student government, chair of the senate council on student affairs and secretary of the university senate.

“The university is where we work and live – and we will not tolerate violations of the values, principles and behaviors that constitute the Shared Values we agree to uphold when we become part of Ohio State.”

The letter comes amid increasing incidents of antisemitism and racism on campus, including just a few days before, the letter said.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, OSU campus police were alerted Nov. 14 after a university employee found the graffiti in a stairwell behind the main auditorium inside Hitchcock Hall, home to the university’s college of engineering and the department of civil, environmental and geodetic engineering.

According to a police report, a red Swastika, the words “Heil Hitler,” with a crossed through Star of David below it and “White Power Zone” had been spray painted on basement walls. The words “Whites Only” had been spray painted on stairs leading to another floor. A racial slur had also been painted on the stairwell’s third floor landing, The Dispatch reported. According to the police report, no cameras were in the stairwell.

“This past weekend (Nov. 12 – Nov. 13), an escalation occurred as vandalism in the form of hateful graffiti, including anti-Black and antisemitic phrases, was found in an academic building on the Columbus campus,” the letter said.

The letter urged anyone who witnesses such acts to immediately report it to the university’s office of institutional equity. Anyone who is subject to or witnesses acts of intimidation or threats was urged to notify the school’s department of public safety or call the police at 911.

The school also offered counseling for anyone who was subjected to or witnessed such actions.

“Our values demand that we support our fellow Buckeyes at all times, particularly during the most challenging moments,” the letter said.

Students should contact the office of student life’s counseling and consultation service. School employees should access resources through OSU’s employee assistance program.

“We understand that diversity and inclusion are essential components of our excellence,” the letter said. “We are dedicated to attending to the well-being of individuals and communities. We take seriously our commitment to act responsibly and be accountable for our words and actions.”

Read the full letter here

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