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Vandalism on Campus

Dear Campus Community Members,

We deeply regret having to share with you that we have discovered a number of incidents of vandalism on campus during the past 36 hours, including some containing violent rhetoric and imagery that many find offensive. Staff members in Facilities are working to clean or otherwise remove the vandalism. Fortunately, they were able to address the most egregious acts early in the morning and minimize potential harm to the community. 

We unequivocally condemn these incidents of vandalism, which are an unacceptable escalation in protest activity on campus. Based on our preliminary investigation, we believe a small group of students is responsible. Regardless of their intent, vandalism itself is a violation of our policies as well as the law. Moreover, these acts have been experienced by numerous members of our community as antisemitic. Students found to be involved will face immediate disciplinary action, including interim suspension.

The war in the Middle East — and the resulting pain and suffering it is inflicting on so many — is devastating. We empathize with those of you in our community affected by the violence. We also understand that there are varying political and moral views about the ongoing conflict. We continue to support the ability to protest peacefully at Swarthmore, but we cannot accept conduct that infringes on the rights of others to live, work, and learn in an environment free of harassment and intimidation. These incidents of vandalism are destructive to our community and derail opportunities for substantive dialogue.

We know this is a particularly distressing time for many of you who feel intimidated, harassed, and discriminated against — including the Jewish students, faculty, and staff members who have reached out to us to express their concerns. We want to remind you that there are numerous resources to help all community members through this situation, including those listed below, and we encourage you to seek out that support as needed. 

As activism on campuses at other colleges and universities around the country has intensified, our paramount concerns remain the safety of the community and a peaceful conclusion to the current protest, especially as the end of the academic year draws near.

Since shortly after the start of the current protest, we have made several good-faith efforts to talk with the protesters. On Monday, they responded by inviting us to discuss their demands at the encampment today, Wednesday. We’ve shared with them that we do not believe a conversation of that nature at the encampment will be productive, and we’ve suggested that we meet with a smaller group of encampment organizers and faculty members in a venue more conducive to a constructive discussion. We hope we can have meaningful conversations that set us on a path forward.

There is a broad diversity of beliefs and perspectives across campus, but all of us share this community that is built on a foundation of inclusivity, empathy, and our collective commitment to serving the common good. Please, let’s hold that truth as we move forward through this challenging moment.


Tomoko Sakomura
Acting Co-President
Provost and Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Art History

Rob Goldberg
Acting Co-President
Vice President for Finance and Administration