A swastika drawn in human feces was found in a gender-neutral bathroom in a Rhode Island School of Design dormitory the weekend of Feb. 18. “RISD public safety is investigating this isolated incident as both an act of vandalism and potentially a crime of hate,” wrote Jaime Marland, director of public relations at RISD, in an email to multiple news outlets, including Huffington Post, NBC10 and the Providence Journal.
“What they did is anti-Semitic,” Cooper Thompson, a student at RISD, told NBC10 news, adding that he had “a feeling most likely they’re just trying to shock people.”
Students were also disturbed by the fact that the incident occurred in a gender-neutral bathroom, as it suggests transphobia as well as anti-semitism, NBC 10 news reported.
The act comes amid a recent uptick in national concern over anti-semitism in America: There have been 53 bomb threats made to Jewish community centers across the country in the first two months of 2017, according to the national Jewish Community Center organization. Ivanka Trump spoke out against this recent wave of anti-semitism via Twitter Feb. 20, writing “America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship and religious centers.” President Trump followed with a statement against the acts a few days later after receiving criticism for his silence on the issue.
Some RISD students told NBC10 news that this incident is part of a trend at RISD of acts involving human feces — showers, bathroom stalls and bathroom walls have been repeatedly marked with human feces recently, they said. RISD has held meetings with affected students, NBC10 reported.
University officials were not available for comment by press time.