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Jewish Student’s Door Vandalized with Swastikas at Hartford Area College

Three swastikas were carved into the door of a Jewish Trinity student living in Ogilby Hall on the morning of Friday, Sept. 16th, according to emails from Vice President for Student Success and Enrollment Management Joe DiChristina and Reverend Marcus Halley. Campus Safety received a report on Sept. 18th and is currently investigating the act—an act which is distinctly categorized as a hate crime in the state of Connecticut.

“We know that trends in antisemitic activity are on the rise nationally and internationally,” stated Reverend Halley in his Friday afternoon email. “Although we are not immune to these hateful trends, we can stand united to reject them. We stand together to say, “Not in our house.”

Both DiChristina and Halley condemned the hateful act in their emails with Halley encouraging students to attend Shabbat services and dinners in the Zachs Hillel House as well as the Jewish High Holy Day services that began Sunday, Sept. 25th. For more information on the services provided follow @trinhillel on Instagram, email Rabbi Rachel Putterman at rachel. [email protected], or see Reverend Halley’s email for more resources.

The investigation has also been referred to Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Compliance Pamela Whitley under Trinity’s Nondiscrimination Policy.

Also in his email to the campus community, Reverend Halley encouraged those with any information on this incident to fill out the Campus Climate Incident Report which is an anonymous reporting software for anyone to use. This report can be found on Trinity’s website under Student Life > Campus Safety or by the website search bar. Anyone with further information is highly encouraged to contact either Campus Safety at 860- 297-2222, Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Compliance Pamela Whitley at 860-297-2493, or the Campus Climate Incident Response Team at [email protected].

While the College has not specifically indicated what level of involvement state or local police currently have in the matter, Trinity policy states that, “With the consent of the victim(s), the College will report the incident to the police when the alleged action constitutes a hate crime.” According to Connecticut state law, it is a class A misdemeanor to “intentionally desecrate any public property, monument, or structure; religious object, symbol, or house of worship; cemetery; or private structure not owned by the offender.”

In Connecticut, class A misdemeanors typically result in a $1,000 fine and a maximum of one year in prison. Additionally, there are three degrees of intimidation when it comes to hate crimes in Connecticut; the most basic level, or 3rd degree, is classified as a class E felony, where the offender “intends to intimidate or harass someone… whether actual or perceived, and he or she damages, destroys, or defaces any property.” Class E felonies warrant up to three years in prison, a fine between $1,000 and $3,500, or both. It is still unclear according to those investigating the matter what kind of hate crime this act falls under.