Vandals broke into the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, a fraternity that has a large Jewish membership, at George Washington University in Washington, DC and destroyed a Jewish torah scroll, an item sacred to Jewish people, by tearing it apart and covering it in detergent.
According to a statement from the fraternity, they are working with university officials and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in investigating the incident and said, "Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers."
The destruction took place on Saturday night and was discovered Sunday morning. Chris Osborne, the chapter president, told CNN in an interview, "We believe it was an act of antisemitism. 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."
Thomas LeBlanc, George Washington University president, said in a statement that he was "...appalled by the antisemitic vandalism that occurred at the TKE fraternity house, especially the desecration of the Torah scrolls." LeBlanc added that the university police and DC police are working together in the investigation of the incident.
LeBlanc stated, "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."
ADL’s local branch tweeted out a picture of the destroyed torah scroll and said they were "...very disturbed to learn about this hateful incident that took place overnight at the TKE fraternity house on GWU’s campus."
According to a survey conducted by Hillel and the ADL published recently, one third of Jewish students in US colleges said that they experienced antisemitism in the past year.
The incident at George Washington University comes on the heels of antisemitic posters being put up at Arizona State University which stated that Jews run the world. Arizona State University has had previous incidents of antisemitism, including an incident in 2019 when posters with swastikas were put up around campus during a debate about the movement to boycott, divest and sanction the Jewish state of Israel.