Two incidences of anti-Semitic graffiti have been found at WLU. </p>
Special Constable Services at Wilfrid Laurier University received a report regarding graffiti of swastikas located in the men’s washroom of the Student Services Building Nov. 18. The next day, they received another complaint of hate-related graffiti that said, “Kill all Jews.”
These two incidents raised alarm for the Laurier community, and during an interview with Laura Mae Lindo, the director of the Diversity and Equity Office, Lindo said, “Special Constable did two things: one was to get in touch with my office, but the first thing they did was respond — make sure the area was blocked off, and everything was taken down.” As soon as the Diversity and Equity Office found out about the incidents, a statement was quickly released on the website and sent out to all the community members with the goal of letting those whom the graffiti was directed at realize that the whole community is behind them.
Even though the areas have been cleaned, Lindo stressed that the Diversity and Equity Office’s focus is on “healing and working through the impact of that experience on the faculty, staff, and students.”
The university is taking these hate-related crimes very seriously, according to rabbi Moishy Goldman, the Jewish chaplain at both UW and Laurier.
“I am still bewildered, I am still shocked at people who think this is okay. After everything we’ve done as a society, the progress we have made as a society over the last 50 years, in terms of civil rights, in terms of human rights, in terms of eradicating racism and bigotry, there are still people who think that this is okay or cool or funny,” Goldman said. He also asserted that regardless of intention, hate-related messages are “not funny, not cute, and not acceptable.” He further stated, “Zero tolerance means you never stop until it completely ends.”
The university is going to take further actions to not only support those who are affected by the message, but also establish a continuous discussion on issues about racism. Wilfrid Laurier University has made the decision that as of 2016, it’s going to launch a summit to discuss the status of raising racism across Canada. The goal of the summit is “to get a sense nationally what kinds of issues are at different campuses, and then narrow it down to what’s actually happening in our community here and what actions we want to take to be able to support building a different kind of future,” Lindo said.
Lindo also announced that “we are in the process of building a community event that we want to have within the next two weeks to bring the community together through music to talk about the kind of community we want.” The event will not only encompass the Laurier community, but also reach out to University of Waterloo and other colleges in the area.
Nick Manning, the director of media relations and issues management at UW stated that if this happened at Waterloo, the UW Police would work with Plant Operations quickly to remove the messages. If the police believes it’s a form of hate speech, they would take pictures of the evidence before it’s removed and work closely with the regional police to investigate.