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Police investigating vandalism at Drexel Jewish center as 'hate crime,' university says

Robert Moran, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in News & Features

PHILADELPHIA — Drexel University said Tuesday that police were investigating as a hate crime the vandalism of a sign outside the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life.

In a message to students and staff, Drexel president John A. Fry said several metal letters were removed from the brick marquee of the building by a group of masked people. The episode occurred at the end of spring break, he said. Students returned to campus on Monday.

The vandalism was discovered on Sunday and immediately reported to police, a university spokesperson said in an email.

“As I write, Drexel Public Safety and Philadelphia police are jointly investigating this incident, which was captured on video, as a hate crime,” Fry said.

He called the case “an egregious act of vandalism” and said that any form of vandalism, including graffiti, at the university “does not constitute any legitimate form of protest.”

Fry said “such acts are antisemitic in their intent to disrupt Jewish life and intimidate our Jewish communities, and have no place at Drexel or in our democratic society.”

The university will maintain police and security patrols, Fry said.

 

“I want to reassure all Jewish members of our community of our unwavering commitment to everyone’s safety and security,” Fry said.

In December, the U.S. Department of Education said it was investigating Drexel for the university’s handling of alleged discrimination and harassment on campus amid the war between Israel and Hamas that began in October and has roiled campus life across the country.

The Education Department has nearly 100 open investigations into colleges — including Temple University — and K-12 schools for alleged discrimination involving shared ancestry, including antisemitism or Islamophobia.

Liz Magill resigned late last year as president of the University of Pennsylvania after an uproar over her congressional testimony about the handling of antisemitism on campus.

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©2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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