University of Alabama responds to antisemitic graffiti

Antisemetic Chalking

By WVUA23 Digital Reporter Jas Orr

The University of Alabama responded swiftly Thursday after people on campus reported antisemitic graffiti decorating no less than 19 locations across campus sidewalks. 

In front of numerous buildings and in many of the highest-trafficked areas on campus, messages including “#Yeisright 1/27” and “America First” were written in chalk on the sidewalk by an anonymous individual. 

“Ye is right” refers to the rapper Kanye West, who legally changed his name to Ye, and his string of antisemitic statements made throughout the past few months. Most notably, he told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that “The Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world…We’ve got to stop dissing the Nazis all of the time.” 

The date makes the antisemitism attempt clear, as Jan. 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that honors the 6 million Jewish people who lost their lives under the persecution of the Nazis. 

Furthermore, the slogan “America First” seemingly comes from the white nationalist organization Patriot Front. Recently, stickers for this organization, including one design with “America First,” have appeared on the Strip near the University of Alabama campus. 

Minutes after the messages were reported to campus authorities, UA workers were power washing them away. Many students also dumped water over the graffiti.

“We condemn these chalkings, which violate our Capstone Creed, our campus culture and our core values,” the university said in a statement. “Our expectation is that everyone be treated with civility and respect. As soon as we were notified of the chalkings we began removing them, initiated an investigation and organized resources for those impacted and concerned. Public Safety and the Offices of Student Life and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are fully engaged and providing related support.”

According to Hillel, the Jewish student center on campus, the university has provided additional support and security for Jewish students. Additionally, Hillel leaders said they are working with local and federal agencies to further address the incident. 

Organizations from across campus also took to social media to condemn the messages. 

“This hate does not represent our campus,” Chabad Jewish Student Group leaders wrote in a statement posted on Instagram. “Our community stands resolute and determined, and we ask you to stand with us. We will never be intimidated by acts of hate and will continue to respond with acts of light.”

The university’s chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi also took to Instagram to post a statement. 

“The fight against antisemitism is one that the Jewish people have fought against for the duration of our existence,” they wrote. “Our Brothers condemn hate in all its forms, and will continue to be the light we wish to be in the world.”

Categories: Local News