One of the top art schools in the US launched an investigation Friday after anti-Semitic graffiti made out of human waste was found in a gender-neutral bathroom.
Providence’s Rhode Island School of Design told students a swastika made of feces was discovered over the weekend in a dormitory bathroom, WJAR-TV reported.
The college, known as RISD, said in a statement that the level of “disrespect and vitriol is completely unacceptable.” Public safety officials are investigating it as an act of vandalism and a hate crime.
The school said it has met with students on the dorm floor and has encouraged those with information to come forward.
RISD is located on Providence’s East Side, where a large portion of the city’s Jewish community is located.
“It’s pretty shocking because I think everybody is wondering, you know, who it is,” a student named Cooper Thompson told the local NBC 10 News. “What they did is anti-Semitic. I have a feeling most likely they’re really just trying to shock people.”
“It’s kind of disgusting, actually, and really sad that somebody would go to that length to kind of express their frustration or some kind of angst or mental disease,” Rory Hernandez, another student, told NBC.
According to RISD students who spoke to WJAR, the fecal swastika was the latest in a series of waste-related incidents in the school’s dormitories.
While the local Jewish Community Center of Rhode Island has not been a target in a recent wave of bomb threats targeting JCCs nationwide, there have been a handful of anti-Semitic incidents in Providence in the past year.
Rabbi Barry Dolinger of Providence’s Congregation Beth Sholom told the AP in November that he has been the target of anti-Semitic jeers that have become a “not irregular feature of life” since the US election. He said it has happened to him at least five times and to someone in his congregation at least once a month, always when they’re walking about because they don’t drive while observing the Sabbath.
One time, he said, he was told he “should have been burned in the ovens.”
Last May another congregation in a suburb nearby was vandalized with a swastika in what police deemed was a hate crime.