DENVER (KDVR) — Hillel of Colorado, located on the University of Denver Campus, held a press conference Tuesday after three students were the target of antisemitism.
“Three mezuzahs were ripped off door posts and thrown into stairwells. One was defaced, the other was attempted to be defaced and we know one student had pork products taped to their door,” Daniel Bennett, Executive Director of Hillel of Colorado said.
Bennett said some of the Jewish students were on a retreat up in Winter Park when this happened. They believe it happened sometime between Thursday morning and Saturday morning.
“They believe footage exists but I have been told by others maybe one of the cameras was broken,” Bennett said.
Mezuzahs are commonly hung on doorways containing prayers. The ones in this case were hanging in the doorway of student dorms. Neither DU or Bennett would confirm which dorm the incident happened in.
“We want to put these mezuzahs up and show we are proud and you can’t take down something we are proud of,” Lily Gross, an Alumni of DU and Jewish Student leader with Hillel of Colorado said.
Bennett said it’s estimated that around 10% of the DU student population is Jewish. Other Jewish leaders in the Denver community are speculating on who they believe committed the crimes.
“It is likely those will be students or people who have access into the security halls to take the actions,” said Scott Levin, the Mountain States Regional Director of the Anti Defamation League.
Bennett is asking DU to provide additional security for students. He said the students impacted are doing okay.
“I think they find comfort in knowing the university and us are doing everything we can to protect them,” Bennett said.
The DU sent out a statement to all student and staff:
In the past few days, our residential communities have experienced three acts of antisemitic vandalism. As some of you may have heard, early last Thursday, a Johnson-MacFarlane resident’s door was vandalized; and yesterday evening, two residents from the Nagel Hall reported that their doors were vandalized and religious items were removed over the weekend.
The University has provided a range of supports to directly affected students and continues to investigate these incidents. If you have information about any of these incidents, please share it with the Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX (EOIX) by emailing email@example.com or by filing a report through their online reporting form. You can find more information about the Equal Opportunity office, and relevant policies and procedures at www.du.edu/equalopportunity.
We want to be very clear that these acts are not acceptable within DU’s community, and acknowledge the harm that has been caused to members of our community. Every student, faculty, and staff member deserves a place to live, learn, and work that is respectful, welcoming, and safe. Each of us shares the responsibility to foster that environment through our actions.
We each have commitments to make. Importantly, we call on our community members to be accountable for our community. This means holding oneself and one’s community responsible when harm is caused, seeking ways to prevent harmful acts from occurring in the future, as well as engaging in campus life, including cultural and educational opportunities, to make connections across the DU campus.
As we continue working with all involved, below are some resources to educate, support, and engage our community.University of Denver
- Individual and group support is available through the Health & Counseling Center (HCC): www.du.edu/health
- Student Outreach & Support: https://studentaffairs.du.edu/student-outreach-support
- Get involved on campus: https://crimsonconnect.du.edu
- Dean of Students office: https://studentaffairs.du.edu/get-connected
Hillel is a Jewish student organization, present at 850 colleges and universities world-wide.