EUGENE, Ore. — A hate crime near the University of Oregon campus that could be targeted at a Jewish fraternity is causing outrage throughout the community.
Fraternity brothers living in the Alpha Epsilon Pi house near the UO campus are outraged, after finding swastikas painted on a mailbox down the street from their house.
“This symbol harbors a lot of ill will and negative connotations with it. We are all very upset by it,” said Sam Gutin, Alpha Epsilon Pi president.
Now the Jewish community at the UO is joining together to rise above this hateful crime.
“No organizations, no races, religions, people, whether it’s the LGBT community, African American community, Latino community, Asian Community, should have to deal with this kind of act,” said Andy Gitelson, president of Oregon Hillel.
The Eugene Police Department says while crimes like this are rare, any bias or hate crimes will not be tolerated in the community.
“Eugene Police is very concerned about this sort of behavior because it not only is destruction of property, but it represents a symbol that strikes fear into an entire community,” said Lt. Doug Mozan, Eugene Police Department.
That’s a statement echoed by UO administration.
“We are very concerned with the incident that’s occurred and really want to say to everyone involved in this that we are very regretful of the fact that they’ve been effected in this particular way, and that this is not the kind of thing that the University of Oregon will tolerate,” said Paul Shang, UO Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students.
And as police are investigating this crime, they currently don’t have any leads and say witnesses have not come forward to provide any information about what happened Monday night.
“Graffiti of this nature–it’s a cowardly act, and the act is of course designed to strike fear into a community and cause concern, and that usually is realized, and at the same time we do our best to make sure that people know and feel safe,” Mozan said.
University administration says if a student did this, there will be harsh punishments.
“If anybody is ever identified, if that person is a student, the kinds of sanctions that we would have would be very direct and very harsh,” Shang said.
Even though students are upset and scared about what happened, they say they’re already moving on.
“We’re hopeful that no one else will have to deal with this, including us among the next bit of time, maybe we will, but if we do we know that we have the support and have the community behind us, and that’s what’s really important,” Gitelson said.
Gitelson says they are increasing security at Jewish centers both on campus and around town due to this incident.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Eugene Police Department.