Rutgers student Sara Rosen posted the following to her facebook profile with the attached photo:
This is a draft of the letter I intend to send to the Targum. I’m pretty upset with the way Rutgers handled the situation in which a swastika was taped to the ceiling of my apartment. What do you all think?
Darkness swallowed up the vastness of Livingston campus as another typical Saturday wound down. I had just finished my gym workout. Casually unlocking the door to my campus apartment, I flipped on the light. Gazing up, something unusual caught my eye. I thought for a second that the beads of sweat coupled with the intensity of the workout were the cause of a dizzying, disorienting visual hallucination of sorts. My heart pounded;An anxious racing, rhythmic tribal drum pounded in my head. Keys were clenched tightly in my hand as I prepared to defend – fight or flight. For a moment, I was transfixed, paralyzed by the visceral attack of the huge SWASTIKA that appeared painted on the wall. “What the F-ck ! Hello..anybody here ?”
My parents next..My dad quizzed me about who would have access to the apartment and if anybody, including my apartment-mates, held any kind of grudge against me recently.
I shared the coed apartment with some guys who I knew casually from being of similar majors.
I couldn’t come up with anything unusual. Only when my dad’s inquiries evolved, did I recognize that I had had what I considered to be some minor recent disputes. Dirty overflowing sink dishes caused me to firmly protest. Also, a needle shedding tree was dragged into the common area of the apartment during Christmas that set off some allergies.The set up used no stand so the wall served as structural support. Despite my denial and assertion that these instances were trivial and inconsequential, Dad gave a big “Ah-hah”.
The Nazi symbol was created with detail and precision. Someone spent some time on this.
The police and the resident associate were able to track down the other cohabitants who had suddenly become evasive. RU Police chided me for calling 9-1-1 and ultimately declared that this issue was not their domain. One of the apartment-mates ultimately admitted to the act. Standing by what appeared to be a sudden impulse of “altruistic” intent, he asserted that the symbol was meant as an act of friendly greeting;He noted Buddhist practitioners commonly used it as such. And its orientation was not exactly as the Nazis reiterated it. After all, he knew I was Jewish. Subsequently, he obstinately refused to take it down even when asked to by the housing representatives.
“Horseshit” was the general agreement among my family – all of them RU legacy. My dad noted, “ I don’t know what his problem is – whether this was some sort of narcissistic ploy or that he is just plain strange and stupid. It doesn’t matter. It should not be tolerated.”
Prodded by my family and friends, I was urged to not let this go. I strongly came to suspect that one of the other guys sharing the apartment was involved but could not definitely prove it. He certainly ran fast enough and hid when the police arrived. He claimed to not know me or live in my apartment when interrogated by my apartment assistant. There were Hitler postings on Facebook and subsequent deletions.
The ensuing weeks became a carousel of meetings with various representatives; Conduct reps, campus and student deans. They seemed much more concerned over a story of one the cohabitants pouring liquid nitrogen all over the apartment that one of them had obtained by stealing it from their lab.
Many who hear my story become outraged. But, RU reps seemed to indicate that the whole ordeal was a good time to reflect and quietly use as a learning experience. Feigned empathy, I felt. RU Dean Schuster conveyed that I should be satisfied and feel safe by having been moved out of the dwelling. Others, like my dad, believe that I did nothing wrong…so why should I have been the one who moved ? I maintain that the culprits should have been totally ousted from University housing.
Here is what my father, an RU alum and supporter, has to say:
“Unlike, Rutgers….Stanford, George Washington, and other Universities have acted swiftly and decisively. They have not discriminated as to whether the Nazi emblem points clockwise or counterclockwise. These kind of acts are not the equivalent to simple name calling…sticks and stones..not so much. Acting out of this nature should not be tolerated. Incidents like this..whether ‘slips of the paint brush’ or ‘altruistic’ greetings penned by misguided youth… should not be swept under the carpet of University bureaucracy. Rutgers needs to shout loud and shout often, that it will not tolerate these thinly disguised messages/symbols of hate and intimidation. Period.”