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Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Hofstra University, officials say

Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University, said the

Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University, said the school is investigating anti-Semitic graffiti in a residence hall's elevators.   Credit: James Escher

An investigation is underway at Hofstra University after anti-Semitic graffiti was found carved into the walls of elevators at a residence hall, school officials said Thursday.

In a message to the student body, President Stuart Rabinowitz said the investigation covers two recent incidents at the Hempstead campus.

"These hateful acts are a profound betrayal of our values as a university and a community," Rabinowitz said. "We condemn discrimination, bias and prejudice in all its forms, and reaffirm our commitment to hold accountable any member of our community who fails to live up to Hofstra's core values of diversity and inclusion."

Karla Schuster, assistant vice president, office of university relations at Hofstra, said the first incident happened Sept. 14. The second incident was discovered this past weekend. Both happened in the elevators of the same residence hall, she said.

The Jewish High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur took place on Sept. 18 and 27, respectively.

Sarah Emily Baum, a Hofstra journalism student, discovered both graffiti incidents and reported them to school officials. The story first appeared on the Twitter account Hofstra Clocktower, an investigative reporting collaborative by students, she said.

Schuster said the investigation began immediately after the first graffiti was discovered.

Rabinowitz said that in the coming weeks, the school's anti-hate initiative will launch a multiplatform campaign to reinforce the university's values and make clear that acts of bias are a violation of its code of community standards. Violators will face serious disciplinary action.

"There is no place for anti-Semitism or any other form of discrimination at Hofstra University," Rabinowitz said. "Now more than ever, we must stand together against intolerance, bigotry and hate."

Also on Thursday, Nassau police said they were investigating a swastika found etched in a concrete driveway in Merrick.

The Brian Drive driveway was poured Oct. 6, police said in a release.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo condemned the incidents Friday and said he was directing the state Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the police in their investigations.

"I am appalled and disgusted to learn of these heinous acts of hate in Merrick and at Hofstra University," Cuomo said. "The Jewish community is part of the New York family, and our state has zero tolerance for anti-Semitism … Now more than ever — in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century — we need to be united and show support for one another, and remember that love always conquers hate."

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