Swastikas spotted on college campus

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Nassau Community College officials have discovered hate graffiti and more than 10 swastikas drawn on walls in campus buildings dating back to October, Nassau County police reported. 

A student on Friday found multiple swastikas, as well as the words “Germany’’ and “Heil Hitler” scribbled on the wall in black marker inside a men’s bathroom in the E Cluster Building, police said. Police said they are investigating.

Two days earlier, on Dec. 7, a security officer found three swastikas drawn on a stairwell handrail and wall in the B Cluster Building, police said.

“Nassau Community College is an institution which fosters a safe environment for all, and values equality and respect for all of its students, faculty, staff and visitors,” W. Hubert Keen, the college’s president, said. “We have zero tolerance for any and all kinds of hate speech.”

The hate graffiti found at Nassau Community College is the latest in several similar incidents in Nassau County in recent weeks.

A student at Paul D. Schreiber High School in Port Washington last month found a swastika in the boys bathroom, and the words “make American white again” along with swastikas were discovered on a Mineola sidewalk last week.

A New Hyde Park woman was harassed in New York City on Dec. 1, when three white men tried to rip off her hijab and called her a terrorist while shouting President-elect Donald Trump’s name.

When police officials sent out a news release with the Dec. 7 details, they disclosed three other separate incidents of hate graffiti at the college — on Oct. 15, Oct. 28 and Oct. 29.

On Oct. 15, three swastikas drawn with a green marker were found in the second-floor men’s bathroom in the E Cluster Building, police said.

The school’s cleaning staff discovered two more swastikas on Oct. 28 and “an anti-Semitic” comment on the wall of the men’s bathroom in the D Cluster Building, police said.

A security officer found “multiple swastikas” drawn in blue marker on the walls and urinals in the men’s bathrooms on the first and second floors of the E Cluster Building.

Nassau County police Detective Lt. Richard Lebrun said despite the incidents, bias crimes are down in the county from 62 incidents in 2015.

There have been 49 bias incidents this year, 33 of them involving graffiti, LeBrun said.

“The discovery of swastikas on our large, open campus is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Keen said. “While it is unclear whether the graffiti crime was committed by trespassers or not, the institution will take all steps necessary to ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that Nassau Community College remains a safe haven for all students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Questions were raised when the Police Department included the October incidents in the Dec. 7  news release because the public was not made aware of the incidents earlier.

“The Police Department did not notify the administration,” said Brian Nevin, a spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano   “Hate crimes are down in Nassau but one hate crime is one too many.” 

“Hate crimes will not be tolerated in Nassau County and all messages of hate will be investigated and pursued by police,’’ Mangano said. “Residents can help combat discrimination by reporting such incidents to 911 and taking an active role in shaping and promoting inclusiveness in our society.”

By Stephen Romano

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