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Swastika Discovered at Massachusetts Area College Just Before Holocaust Remembrance Day

President James Birge announced there was a swastika carved into a piece of furniture on the first floor of the Amsler Campus Center on Wednesday, April 7, the day before Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Facilities staff has removed the symbol from the piece of furniture, campus public safety is investigating, and I have referred the student to the Counseling Center for support,” Birge wrote in the campus-wide email.

He categorized the swastika as representative of “violence, hate, discrimination, and bias.” It was the symbol used by the Nazis as they occupied Germany and invaded other European countries during the 1930s and World War 2.

“Although we are a Nation that values free speech, speech that incites or promotes hate and violence against anyone goes beyond the concept of that freedom. Free speech is a responsibility as much as a right; we must choose our words carefully and look hard at our well-worn beliefs and biases,” Birge said.

He directed students who have faced discrimination to contact Nicole Comstock, the college’s Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX, and/or Christopher MacDonald-Dennis, MCLA’s Chief Diversity Office.

Students can also file a complaint report under the MCLA Equal Opportunity (EO) plan; the report can be found at https://www.mcla.edu/_pdfs/administration/title-ix/EO-COMPLAINT-FORM.pdf .

“Finally, I will remind you, there is no room on our campus for any kind of hateful rhetoric or action. Even as we have shifted to remote learning, we remain committed to creating a campus community that is safe for all and will continue to support each other,” Birge concluded.