Indiana Daily Student

UPDATE: Six swastikas found in Bloomington in three weeks, community responds

<p>A swastika is seen Dec. 15, 2021, graffitied onto a wall of a building near the corner of Sixth and Madison streets. This was the sixth swastika discovered in Bloomington in the past three weeks.</p>

A swastika is seen Dec. 15, 2021, graffitied onto a wall of a building near the corner of Sixth and Madison streets. This was the sixth swastika discovered in Bloomington in the past three weeks.

A white heart is seen Dec. 16, 2021, covering a swastika that was found on the side of a building near the corner of Sixth and Madison streets. This was the sixth swastika discovered in Bloomington in the past three weeks. David Wolfe Bender

A swastika was found on a building near the intersection of Sixth and Madison streets. It has since been painted over with a white heart, as of Dec. 16. The swastika was seen as recently as Dec. 15. 

It is at least the sixth swastika found in Bloomington in the past three weeks. Five of the six were found off campus. IU Police Department and Bloomington Police Department are investigating many of the reported incidents, both departments said.

Only one of the six swastikas seen in Bloomington was found on campus. As of Dec. 13, there are no suspects in the case, IU Police Department Deputy Chief Shannon Bunger said in an email.

Community Response

IU Hillel responded to the incidents of antisemitism in a statement Dec. 13. As part of their response, IU Hillel created a student task force on antisemitism. 

"This type of hatred is on the rise around the country, and we stand together to say NO ONE should experience anti-Semitism, anywhere," Rabbi Sue Laikin Silberberg, who serves as the executive director of IU Hillel, said in a statement to the Indiana Daily Student. "Students must be able to feel safe on their college campus."

Chabad at IU leaders responded to the first swastika incident by lighting traditional Hanukkah candles in front of the swastika Dec. 4. 

“(Campus) is not a place of hate,” Rabbi Levi Cunin said during the candle lighting in a video on their Instagram story. “Campus is a place of love. We will therefore be spreading love.” 

Resources

To report a hate crime in Bloomington or on IU’s campus, visit the following websites: 

IUPDx is asking residents with any information about the on-campus incident to contact the department at 812-855-4111. BPD can be contacted at 812-339-4477. 

The IDS is committed to tracking incidents of hate across IU’s campus and the City of Bloomington. If a hate symbol is found, it can be reported through sending an email to news@idsnews.com with its location and a photo, if possible. 

***

At least six swastikas have been found in Bloomington in the past three weeks. Some of the swastikas appeared during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started Nov. 28 and ended Dec. 5.

The following incidents were reported previously: 

A swastika is seen Dec. 14, 2021, on a light post next to a building belonging to the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington, near the intersection of Third and Lincoln Streets. It is the fifth swastika found in Bloomington in the last three weeks. David Wolfe Bender

Dec. 14 at Third and Lincoln streets
A swastika was found on a lightpost next to a building belonging to the Boys and Girls Club of Bloomington, near the intersection of Third and Lincoln streets. It is the fifth swastika found in Bloomington in the last three weeks. 

While it is unknown if the incidents are connected, the writing accompanying the hate symbol in this incident looks nearly identical to an incident reported to Bloomington Police Department over the weekend. This swastika was also found within 300 feet of another previously reported swastika

Dec. 13 on East First Street

Another swastika was seen in Bloomington near the intersection of First and Grant streets. This is at least the fourth time the hate symbol has been seen in the city in the last three weeks. 

The swastika was seen on the side of a detached garage next to a house. 

BPD Capt. Ryan Pedigo confirmed the incident was reported to BPD the afternoon of Dec. 13. The vandalism was originally noticed by the reporting party that weekend, he said. 

The department is investigating the incident. 

Dec. 8 at Smith and Lincoln streets

A swastika was found by a Bloomington resident Nov. 28, the first night of Hanukkah. This is the third time Bloomington residents have noticed the hate symbol across the city in two weeks. 

The swastika, found at the intersection of South Lincoln Street and East Smith Avenue, has since been painted over. In addition to the white paint covering the swastika, someone painted “Love Everyone” on the wall. 

BPD is aware of the incident and the case is active, a spokesperson for the department said. 

Dec. 4 at the 10th Street Bridge near Eigenmann Hall

A swastika was seen underneath a 10th Street bridge near Eigenmann Hall and Tulip Tree apartments Dec. 4. This is the second time the hate symbol has been noticed by Bloomington residents in recent days. 

IUPD was made aware of the incident near Eigenmann, IU student Alek Maasik said in a Twitter post Saturday.

The swastika has been removed from the pillar, according to an IUPD press release Dec. 6. There are no suspects in the incident at this time.

It is unclear if the on-campus incident is connected to the off-campus incident, according to the release. Pictures from the incidents look similar. The symbols were both painted in red, according to photos obtained by the IDS. 

Dec 4. at Sixth and Lincoln streets 

A swastika was painted onto a building near Sixth and Lincoln Streets. Chabad at IU, a Jewish student organization, posted photos and videos of the incident on their Instagram story Dec. 4. 

This off-campus incident coincides with Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday. Some notable Jewish leaders interpret Hanukkah as a celebration of religious freedom. After discovering the symbol off campus, Chabad leaders responded by lighting the traditional Hanukkah candles in front of the swastika Saturday evening. 

Pedigo said the case is active, as of Dec. 13. 

This story may be updated.

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