An employee at Cincinnati's Hebrew Union College today discovered a swastika on the school's main sign facing busy Clifton Avenue in Clifton. The inflammatory anti-semitic symbol, a calling card of Neo-Nazis and other hate groups, was scrawled large across the sign in white spray paint.
The Cincinnati Police Department says officers are actively investigating and have encouraged anyone with information to call Crimestoppers at 513-352-3040. Police are seeking a suspect or suspects on criminal damaging charges, and an incident report lists the offense as hate-related. No other details about the incident were available yet, a CPD spokesperson said.
Hebrew Union College was founded in 1875 and currently has locations in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York City in addition to its Cincinnati campus. It was the first such college for Jewish students in North America.
Hebrew Union College President Rabbi Aaron Panken issued a statement about the incident this afternoon.
"For more than 140 years, HUC-JIR has been devoted to the values of pluralism, open dialogue, and the pursuit of knowledge," Panken wrote. "We pride ourselves on being a vital and engaged part of the Cincinnati community. Our academic institution of Jewish higher education lives, teaches, and brings the values of diversity and tolerance to the community, the nation, and the larger world. Our faculty, students, staff, and alumni, proudly representing all faiths and backgrounds, work together to build a just and humane world.
We will not let this act of hate alter our important work. We are indebted to the people of Cincinnati who have stood by us for generations and who have offered their support again today. Tomorrow, a new day will dawn and the values we hold dear will continue to light the way."
The swastika had already been removed when a CityBeat reporter visited the school earlier today.
Similar incidents have swept across the country in the aftermath of the president-elect Donald Trump's Nov. 8 win. Mayor John Cranley issued a statement about the incident this afternoon.
“This act of hate perpetrated against our brothers and sisters at Hebrew Union College is an attack on our entire community. I am deeply offended and disturbed by these actions. The City is committed to using all of our resources to bring these criminals to justice. As we work to build a more welcoming and inclusive City, we will not stand for this intimidation.“
Images of the vandalized sign began making their way around social media late this morning.