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Did One Man Cause A Spike In Anti-Semitism At The University Of Wisconsin?

The University of Wisconsin-Madison saw a huge spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2016, according to a report released by the school last month.

The report was released by the university to comply with federal law mandating such reports annually. It noted 20 reported hate crimes in 2016, with 14 motivated by bias against religion—with all of those crimes targeting Jews. Only two hate crimes were reported in 2015 (with none religiously-motivated), and zero were reported in 2014.

The report stated that all 14 of the religious hate crimes were committed by one individual who committed multiple acts of anti-Semitic vandalism. That man, Timothy Arnold, pleaded guilty to some charges of spraying white supremacist symbols on walls around the campus and city in the spring of 2016.

A campus police spokesperson told the local newspaper Isthmus that the increase in recorded hate crimes came from increased reporting, not increased criminal activity.

But at least one Jewish student believes that hate crimes have indeed been happening with more frequency.

“The feeling definitely is that there has been an uptick in the incidents themselves,” senior Ariela Rivkin told Isthmus. “I know when I go places and I wear my Jewish star, and I wear it proudly, I do get looks. I expect that every once-in-a-while, unfortunately, someone is going to say something. I’ve heard a Heil Hitler a few times on this campus directed at me.”

Indeed, a memorial near a Madison synagogue was defaced last month by graffiti of swastikas and the words “Trump Rules.”

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink

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Did One Man Cause A Spike In Anti-Semitism At The University Of Wisconsin?

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