Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

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 [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.