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Hateful & Antisemitic Symbols Discovered On Campus

October 24, 2019

​​Dear students, staff and faculty:

I write to you with disturbing news. Earlier this evening, Campus Police responded to multiple reports of swastikas drawn in marker on the walls of Seelye, Bass and Burton halls. 

I condemn in the strongest terms this act of hatred and cowardice. I also recognize that these are not just marks on a wall but attacks on our community and the values we hold central to our shared humanity. Hate has no place at Smith.

Our first priority is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our community, especially members of the Jewish community and so many others for whom this symbol is an act of violence and an erasure of identity. 

Matilda Cantwell, director of religious and spiritual life, will be in Helen Hills Hills Chapel until midnight tonight to provide a space to reflect and heal in community. We will hear more from Matilda Cantwell and Rabbi Rhonda Shapiro-Reiser tomorrow.

Students who would like to seek support from counseling services are encouraged to call 413-585-2840 to speak with a member of the counseling team.

Campus Police are taking the following actions: 

  • A full search of campus is underway to look for any further swastikas or related vandalism.
  • An immediate investigation has been initiated in coordination with the Northampton Police Department. Members of the community are encouraged to call Campus Police to report any information relevant to this incident.
  • All swastikas that we have discovered have been covered, and we are working to remove them permanently.

I am sickened and I am angry. Acts like this are meant to incite fear and division. We will respond, instead, by supporting one another and with our sustained commitment to dismantling the systems from which these abhorrent acts emerge. As we deal with the aftermath, let’s hold each other closely with care and love.

In solidarity,

Kathleen McCartney