Stanford Department of Public Safety investigating swastikas discovered in Memorial Church hallway

Drawings of swastikas on a Memorial Church wall, which Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne said have "no place on our campus," are being investigated as a hate crime by the university’s Department of Public Safety.

The Stanford Department of Public Safety is investigating the appearance of two swastikas drawn on a hallway wall in Memorial Church.

The graffiti was in an interior office space on the second floor near the Round Room, not in the main sanctuary. The swastikas, about six to nine inches in diameter and drawn in black marker, were discovered Monday when an Office for Religious Life staff member entered the building to retrieve items from an office. One swastika had been covered by a Buddhist tapestry that had been stored in a box nearby during a renovation project.

"The swastika is a symbol of hate, an expression of anti-Semitism and intolerance that has no place anywhere on our campus," said Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne. "We condemn this type of vitriol anywhere, but especially in our interdenominational Memorial Church, whose very purpose is to serve spiritual needs across our diverse community and help bring us together."

Religious Life staff believe the vandalism occurred after July 10 but possibly earlier, around the July 4 weekend. Work is now underway to remove the drawings and repaint that section of the wall.

DPS is investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.

"I want to convey my sorrow and anger at this violation and affirm that no graffiti can sway our university’s commitment to create a community where all are welcomed and affirmed," said the Rev. Dr. Tiffany Steinwert, the university’s dean for religious life. "The ideals of love, justice, integrity and respect for all which Memorial Church embodies cannot be marred by vandalism."

Public Safety asks that anyone with information about this incident call the DPS 24-hour non-emergency number at (650) 329-2413.


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