Last Saturday, Yale’s Old Campus was defaced with a swastika and the insignia of the “SS,” an elite quasi-military unit of the Nazi party, insignia sculpted in snow. They were accompanied by phrases referencing Jonathan Edwards College and its unofficial motto, “JE Sux.”
Pierson College Master Harvey Goldblatt condemned the incident in an e-mail sent to Pierson students on Sunday evening. “It is shocking for these kinds of hateful images to appear anywhere, but it is even more disturbing when it is within the locked gates of Old Campus at Yale University,” Goldblatt wrote.
Another e-mail was sent out on Sunday by junior Jonathan Goldman, a member of Yale Friends for Israel. According to Goldblatt, the incident had not been widely acknowledge or discussed. “Nobody seemed to know about it at all,” he said. “Nobody seemed to be taking charge of any kind of campus-wide initiative.”
The University experienced two similar incidents last fall, including the spray-painting of racist graffiti on walls outside Pierson College and the University Theatre. The University, led by Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry, reacted by creating a committee to develop a protocol for hate speech incidents.
“What we’re seeing on campus is hateful, and it’s because these people aren’t able to handle the rich diversity that we have on campus,” Gentry said. “And so they strike out against the people they don’t like.”
A moment of silence was held by the Joseph E. Slifka Center for Jewish Life the Monday following the anti-Semitic incident. According to Noah Lawrence, spiritual chair of the primarily Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi, the event served to remind students of the six million Jewish deaths at Nazi hands.
“The swastika is not the stuff of jokes. Neither is the SS symbol,” Lawrence said.
Beyond e-mails, there have been few other concrete responses to this specific incident. Dean Daniel Tauss emphasized the importance of free speech and dialogue.
“Free speech is one of the most fundamental rights our nation has been built on, and I would never want to see it diminished in any way,” Tauss wrote in an e-mail. “A primary purpose of free speech is to protect those people brave enough to stand by their convictions and opinions.”
Students who found the sculptures contacted the Yale Police Department. The investigation is underway.
Yale Daily News
Georgia lifts ban on college logos for caskets
Undying love is taking on a new meaning for graduates of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities. Last month, the Board of Regents has rescinded a 1982 policy that forbade the use of college logos on caskets and urns.
The reevaluation was prompted by the discovery of the forgotten rule in 2003, five years after Scott Walston of the Macon-based company Collegiate Memorials began selling school-spirit caskets and urns nationwide. College insignia appear on the open lid of the caskets, for example a large “M” stitched into the underside of the lid represents the University of Missouri.
According to Walston, the change has had an immediate impact. “We had a funeral home call just as soon as the press release went out, and they ordered a Georgia Tech and a Georgia,” Walston said. “They were going to put them in their showroom.”
Collegiate Memorials, which has licensing agreements with more than 100 colleges nationwide, says it is “striving to provide tasteful personalization to a unique group that wishes to declare their life interest” and it “takes great pride in being an innovator in the funeral service industry.”
The service is being targeted at alumni who might want to continue financially supporting the universities, which receive 7.5 percent of the proceeds.
The 1982 rule, which forbids placing the logos of any of Georgia’s public colleges and universities on any item that could cause “embarrassment or ridicule,” still applies to toilet seats, sex toys and alcoholic beverages.
A previous conflict with the trademark policy occurred in 2004, when the university system halted sales of a wine bearing a UGA logo.
University system officials plan to review the policy and present suggestions at an upcoming meeting.
Chronicle of Higher Education, the BBC and Fox News