Fraternity House Vandalized
Story by TV20's Crispin Lopez
Alpha Epsilon Pi, an historically-Jewish fraternity, has been on the UF campus since 1951. Its new house is currently under construction and set to open next fall. This weekend fraternity members found an unwanted addition at the work site: a swastika on the left side of the building.
"It's sad that in our time, years past the Holocaust, that we still see Nazi symbolism," said UF chapter president Matthew Friedman. "It's disgusting on a great campus like University of Florida that something would happen like this."
University police say they received a call on Sunday afternoon, but are unsure when the anti-Semitic symbol was spray-painted on.
"With the affiliation of this house to the Jewish community being so closely involved here, we're actually looking into this situation possibly upgrading the criminal mischief with a hate crime increase," said UF police Captain Jeff Holcomb.
That increase to a hate crime would mean the vandalism would become a first degree misdemeanor.
Andrew Rosenkranz, Florida Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, released this statement on the vandalism:
"It's disheartening to see that a fraternity was tarnished with anti-Semitic hate and the negative impact it will have not only upon its jewish members, but the entire University of Florida campus. The use of the Nazi symbol, the swastika, evokes chilling memories of the Holocaust and of what can happen when hate and anti-Semitism are unchecked. The swastika remains one of the most powerful and enduring emblems of religious and ethnic hatred."
UF's Vice President of Student Affairs also sent a letter to the fraternity.
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