Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

Swastika Discovered Near Maine College Campus

The Department of Safety and Security and Brunswick Police Department (BPD) are investigating two incidents of hateful speech against Bowdoin students that occurred last weekend. President Safa Zaki sent out a campus-wide email on Tuesday, addressing the acts of hate.

“We learned over the last few days about two deeply disturbing acts of prejudice and hate that I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Zaki wrote. “Racist, antisemitic and other forms of bigoted acts and rhetoric are on the rise across the country as well as on our doorstep. They cannot and will not be tolerated at Bowdoin.”

The first incident occurred on February 8 near the railroad bridge on Federal Street, where an occupant of a white SUV yelled anti-Black racial slurs and insults at a student walking to Stowe Inn. At least two people in the van reportedly laughed and drove away toward Mason Street and Route 1.

The student reported the incident to Security the next day, Friday, February 9, and the BPD  responded that evening.

The second incident happened on Boody Street and was reported to Security on Sunday afternoon. Two students found a swastika drawn in dust on the window of a car belonging to a student living in Reed House. Another car had penises drawn in dust on the windows.

“The vehicle owner reported the incident to Security but declined to file a police report. Nevertheless, due to the nature of the incident and its impact on the community, Security informed the Brunswick police on Monday,” Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols wrote in an email to the Orient.

Nichols said the incident on Boody Street occurred between Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 12 p.m. Reed House hosted a party sponsored by the football team on that Saturday night.

“Security’s first response is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those involved. We then gather statements and other evidence and generate an investigative report,” Nichols wrote.

Zaki felt it was crucial to call attention to the incidents.

“It is important for at least two reasons to shine a bright light on incidents like these: first, to make sure those affected are supported and know where to turn, and second, to state unequivocally that we will not tolerate hateful acts such as these at Bowdoin,” Zaki wrote in an email to the Orient.

On Wednesday afternoon, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Multicultural Student Life Eduardo Pazos, Director of the Sexuality, Women and Gender Center Natalie Turrin and Director of the Rachel Lord Center for Religious and Spiritual Life Oliver Goodrich held drop-in hours at Ladd House to provide space for conversations and support in response to the incidents.

Chief of Police Scott Stewart said that BPD is reviewing the incidents and working with Bowdoin Security.

“We take these matters very seriously and are investigating thoroughly. We do everything we can to make people feel safe in the town of Brunswick,” Stewart said.

Nichols said that Security currently has leads based on security footage but encourages anyone with information to reach out.

“Both incidents are under investigation. We ask that anyone with information that could assist us in these investigations contact the Office of Safety and Security or the Brunswick Police Department,” Nichols wrote.