- A George Washington University fraternity was vandalized last weekend, including a Torah scroll hit with laundry detergent.
- The incident occurred at the on-campus house of the Alpha-Pi chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon.
- The chapter president said the fraternity believes “it was an act of anti-Semitism.”
A fraternity house at George Washington University was broken into and vandalized over the weekend, including a Torah scroll that was found covered in liquid laundry detergent, prompting a police investigation.
The incident occurred at the on-campus house of the Alpha-Pi chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon, according to a statement by the fraternity.
“Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers,” the fraternity said in a statement posted to Instagram.
Chapter President Chris Osborne told CNN that laundry detergent was poured over religious texts in the house, specifically a Jewish Torah.
“We believe it was an act of anti-Semitism,” Osborne told CNN. “There was a Christian Bible and a Jewish Torah in the room, and only the Jewish Torah was vandalized. I believe it was a hate crime.”
Osborne told the news outlet that about 25% of the fraternity chapter is Jewish. Of the nearly 12,500 undergraduate students that attend George Washington University, 3000 (about 24%) of them are Jewish, according to the website of Jewish student organization Hillel.
A local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League posted a photo detergent-soaked Torah on Twitter, describing it as a “hateful incident.”
“We’ve spoken with students & reached out to campus PD. We expect a full & rapid investigation,” the organization wrote.
—ADL Washington DC (@ADL_WashDC) October 31, 2021
The fraternity said in the statement that they are working with university officials and the ADL to investigate the incident.
George Washington University President Thomas LeBlanc condemned the incident in a statement posted on Sunday, saying he was “appalled by the antisemitic vandalism.”
“This is a deeply disturbing incident, and our GW Police Department is working with the DC Metropolitan Police Department to find the perpetrators,” LeBlanc wrote in the statement. I want to be clear: I condemn all such acts of antisemitism and all forms of hatred, discrimination, and bias in our community. Any act of antisemitism is an attack on the entire GW community and cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”
He added: “The safety and well-being of our students and all members of our community remains our foremost priority, and the university is providing all resources necessary to the investigation and to support our community.”