BOSTON (JTA) — Smith College in Massachusetts was vandalized with a rash of swastikas.
Local police have joined the investigation into the incident at the prestigious all-women school in Northhampton, about 100 miles west of Boston.
Students reported finding at least one swastika on a wall in an academic building on Thursday. Police then searched the entire campus and found a total of eight swastikas drawn with markers on three buildings, a college spokeswoman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The swastikas were permanently removed by staff by Friday morning, Stacey Schmeidel told JTA.
In a letter emailed that evening to students, staff and faculty, Smith President Kathleen McCartney condemned the vandalism as an act of “hatred and cowardice.” She said the college’s first priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of the community, especially members of the Jewish community.
The school offered support and counseling services.
On Friday afternoon, nearly 200 students, faculty and staff held a community gathering, where speakers included several Jewish student leaders.
One student told a local television station that she was surprised that such an incident happened at a place like Smith, “making me fearful for my friends who are Jewish, who … are scared for themselves and for their community,” Libby Keller told Western Mass News.