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Community Message

President Valerie Smith sent the following message to the Swarthmore community at 11:30 am on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2016.

To the Swarthmore community:

At approximately 10:30 p.m. last night, a Swarthmore student found two swastikas that had been spray-painted on the interior wall of a stall in a second-floor bathroom in McCabe Library and reported this discovery to Public Safety. Public Safety responded immediately, and Facilities is in the process of removing the graffiti. The Bias Response Team, led by Dean of Students Liz Braun, met this morning to determine next steps. Please be assured that they will follow all appropriate protocols. This incident is serious and unacceptable, and the perpetrator(s) will face serious disciplinary consequences. 

To familiarize yourself with our Bias Response Protocols, please see the following link:

Embraced by German Nazis in the 1930s and ‘40s, the swastika has become for Jews worldwide a symbol of intimidation, suppression, and the threat of extermination. Additionally, it has been associated with white supremacist and homophobic movements. This imagery, indeed any imagery or speech that seeks to threaten individuals or communities based on their religion, sexual orientation, race, disability status, gender, nationality, political views or any other characteristic has no place on our campus and will not be tolerated. 

I am grateful to the student who reported this information, and I urge anyone with any information to contact Public Safety by email at or by phone at 610-328-8281.

Incidents such as these are an assault on our entire community. In the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  “We are tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”


Valerie Smith