The Grewcock Student Union was van­dalized earlier this week. Brian Noble | Col­legian

Hillsdale College’s main­te­nance employees painted over vulgar and anti-Semitic graffiti in the main-floor men’s restroom in the Grewcock Student Union on Tuesday.

The van­dalism included a swastika and pro­fanity directed at Pres­ident Donald Trump. College admin­is­trators said they are aware of the incident and are looking into it.

“Graffiti is just some­thing I have not seen much of in my 16 years,” Dean of Men Aaron Petersen said. “From time to time, I have seen high energy lead to some minor property destruction, but that or graffiti is not some­thing we have seen much of. There’s not a lot of patience for those things in our campus culture.”

The union attracts numerous stu­dents and members of faculty and staff as well as campus vis­itors every day. People first noticed the graffiti Monday afternoon. The main­te­nance office said it was not aware of the van­dalism until a reporter for The Col­legian asked about it on Tuesday.

Freshman Sara Garfinkle is an exec­utive board member of Chaverah, Hillsdale’s Jewish club, and said hearing about the graffiti dis­ap­pointed her.

“I am alarmed to see such blatant anti-Semitism on a college founded on Judeo-Christian values,” Garfinkle said. “Regardless of what the vandal was trying to com­mu­nicate, the swastika has been used for decades to incite terror in the Jewish people. The swastika is dis­gusting every­where. On Hillsdale’s campus, it is unac­ceptable.”

Since America elected Trump in November, news outlets have reported swastikas and other racially toned mes­sages appearing on high school and college cam­puses.

Michigan State Uni­versity announced last month that it was banning white­boards in dorms, after stu­dents allegedly wrote racial slurs on them outside other stu­dents’ rooms.

In Hillsdale’s McIntyre Res­i­dence, the college put a white­board outside of each room after it ren­o­vated the dorm in 2015. House Director Teresa Martin, however, said she has never seen dis­crim­i­natory words written on the boards.

“I would think coming to Hillsdale College, after you sign the honor code, that you would refrain from things like that,” Martin said. “We have never had that happen here in this dorm.”

There have been a couple instances of pro­fanity, Martin said, but she or a res­ident assistant just erases the words.

The white­boards help establish a sense of com­munity in the dorm, giving friends a fun way to interact, McIntyre Head R.A. senior Bilyana Petkova said. She said she has never seen the white­boards used for any­thing unkind or insen­sitive. Instead, the women use them to write their names in foreign lan­guages, write Bible verses, leave mes­sages to friends, or draw pic­tures.

“Hillsdale is a close-knit com­munity,” Petkova said. “We have the honor code in place. I think everyone is trying to be helpful and friendly, and the upper­classmen lead by example… I, as an inter­na­tional student, have never had a problem with someone insulting me, much less leaving a note. So I don’t think Hillsdale has that problem with racial or any other type of dis­crim­i­nation.”

  • Jen­nifer Melfi

    the article doesn’t indicate if the message that accom­panied the swastika was pro or anti Pres­ident Trump, just that it was directed at him. From what I under­stand, most of the anti semitic stuff that has been posted as threats in various places across the US has had a pro-Trump message, such as “look out, now that we are in power we will do bad things to you” kind of a vibe. This is, of course, quite ter­rible. I just won­dered why the article didn’t artic­ulate the direc­tion­ality of the comment.… was this more of the same? Is some proto-fascism that may be latent on Hillsdale on display?