Late yesterday, the office of Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky, a Jewish professor at the Teacher’s College who studies the Holocaust, was vandalized with anti-Semitic hate speech and two swastikas. This is not the first time this has happened; in 2007, Professor Midlarsky’s office was vandalized and she received an anti-Semitic flyer in her school mailbox.
The timing of the vandalism is particularly alarming, as it follows the anti-Semitic attacks on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh last month. The administration of all four colleges sent out statements to the undergraduate communities sharing and denouncing what happened, and extending support to all students.
According to an interview conducted by CNN, Professor Midlarsky believes that the vandalism is “connected to a trend and upsurge in anti-Semitism that we’ve seen in recent years.” She shared that “I opened the outer door and almost passed out” and “I was so shaky, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it.”
Dean Boyce, Dean Rosen-Metsch, and Dean Valentini’s statement:
Dear Undergraduate Students,
We write with shock and anger to share the below message regarding a deplorable act of antisemitism that took place at one of our affiliate professional schools, Teachers College.
In light of the recent tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, the Baraboo, Wisconsin high school prom photo as well as other recent events, we are deeply troubled by the rise of hate speech and crimes against the Jewish community.
Together with University leadership, we stand firmly against all acts of violence and discrimination on Columbia’s campus. Our community will not waver in its support for those of any faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, background or identity.
We understand this may be a difficult time for you and your classmates. Your safety and well-being are our highest priority. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your school’s support network or to utilize the resources listed in the University Life message.
We encourage you to take care of yourself, to talk to friends and family who bring you comfort and to hope and strive for peace in our communities.
Mary C. Boyce
Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science
Dean of the School of General Studies
James J. Valentini
Dean of Columbia College and
Vice President for Undergraduate Education
Barnard President Beilock’s statement:
Dear Members of the Barnard Community:
As you may have heard by now, late yesterday the office of a Teachers College professor was vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs. This horrific hate crime, which is under investigation, is an act of aggression that affects the entire University community and goes against everything that we believe in and stand for.
To our colleagues at Teachers College, we offer our support and reiterate our commitment to ensuring a safe, respectful, and inclusive place for each and every member of our community, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or national origin.
Please know that we are readily available for those who need support. Additional resources can be found on our website.
Sian Leah Beilock
Photo via Wikimedia Commons