The student has since been suspended from his fraternity.
Featured photo courtesy of Branislav Ondrasik via Wikimedia Commons
A member of the Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE) fraternity at Michigan State University spray-painted a swastika on the grounds of his own fraternity house Saturday morning. He has since been suspended from the fraternity.
The swastika was accompanied by an unrelated message that named a female student but did not appear to be anti-Semitic in nature. Another student, MSU senior and Franklin native Dean Sallan, alerted the MSU Chabad House and MSU Hillel chapters to the graffiti.
“When I saw the graffiti, I knew I needed to take a photo of it and immediately send it to someone,” Sallan told the Jewish News. “Throughout my education I’ve dealt with students and their hateful words, but when you put a swastika on the ground like that, that’s Nazi propaganda to me and that can’t be taken lightly.”
Cindy Hughey, executive director of MSU Hillel, told the Jewish News that she plans to meet with the fraternity’s president and one of their Jewish members. The president has expressed interest to Hughey about implementing education about anti-Semitism into the fraternity.
“I truly don’t believe that one kid should be a representation of a whole group, in this case, because [the fraternity member] acted alone,” MSU Chabad Vice President Maverick Levy told the Jewish News. “However, it is crucial for us to use this incident to show the recent rise of anti-Semitism in our community and allow for this to be an educational tool.”
PIKE released the following statement regarding the incident: “Early Saturday morning, a former member of Iota Iota Chapter drew an antisemitic symbol on the chapter’s property. As soon as the chapter became aware of the member’s actions, he was suspended. The chapter has a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination or hate speech and is fully cooperating with the East Lansing Police Department in their investigation.”
Rabbi Benzion Shemtov of MSU’s Chabad House told the Jewish News that he is readily available to meet with parents and students regarding the incident. He can be reached by email: rabbi@jewishMSU.com