Smith College announced Friday an investigation is underway to find those responsible for drawing swastikas on multiple buildings on the Northampton campus.
“I condemn in the strongest terms this act of hatred and cowardice,” Smith President Kathleen McCartney said in a statement. She said the vandalism has left her sickened and angry.
“These are not just marks on a wall but attacks on our community and the values we hold central to our shared humanity,” she said. “Hate has no place at Smith.” The college has launched an investigation along with the Northampton Police.
The graffiti was found drawn with a marker on the walls of Seelye, Bass and Burton halls. Burton and Bass are adjacent to each other on the western edge of campus off College Lane, while Seelye is on the eastern side behind College Hall, the main administration building visible from downtown Northampton.
Each has since been covered up, and the campus is working to remove them permanently, the college said.
Smith students, faculty and staff are being asked to notify police if they find any similar graffiti on other locations. Campus police are also conducting a search of the campus for any more graffiti or similar acts of vandalism.
The school will also be attending to the safety and well-being of the campus community, especially Jewish students and employees. Matilda Cantwell, director of religious and spiritual life at Smith, will be in Helen Hills Hills Chapel Friday until midnight to meet with anyone needing a space to reflect and heal, according to the college.
Cantwell and Rabbi Rhonda Shapiro-Reiser are also supposed to have an announcement Saturday. McCartney said the vandalism was intended to incite fear and division on campus. Instead, Smith, she said, members of the Smith community will respond “by supporting one another and with our sustained commitment to dismantling the systems from which these abhorrent acts emerge.”