Johns Hopkins investigating anti-Semitic graffiti

Dear Johns Hopkins Community:

Yesterday, the university received the very troubling report of graffiti in the shape of four small swastikas etched into the walls of a dormitory elevator on the Peabody Institute campus. In addition to alerting Campus Safety and Security, we have referred the incident to federal law enforcement as a potential hate crime and initiated our own investigation through the Office of Institutional Equity.

The swastika was a central symbol in the iconography of the virulently anti-Semitic Nazi party that arose in Germany after the First World War and carried out the systematic murder during the Holocaust of more than 6 million Jews, as well as millions of other people on the basis of ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, physical or mental disability, or political opposition. Sadly, the swastika symbol continues to be invoked today by a number of extremist white supremacist groups in the United States as a way of registering their alliance with the vile ideas and violent actions of the Nazis. This hateful graffiti on our campus comes at a time in which acts of anti-Semitism are at record highs in the United States. In 2019, the Anti-Defamation League recorded more than 2,100 acts of assault, vandalism, and harassment, an increase of 12% over the previous year.

Johns Hopkins University unequivocally condemns the use of this symbol of hate and the anti-Semitism it embodies in all its forms. We take seriously this and every incident that glorifies hate and violence, and we will continue to investigate and to take all appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of all members of our community.

We know this and other incidents on and off our campuses may be disturbing to many of our colleagues and students. The university offers resources through mySupport for faculty and staff and through the mental health and well-being resources for students, and we hope that you will seek them out as you need. Any members of our community who have concerns about their safety should contact Campus Security at 410-516-7777. And if you have any information or questions about this incident, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity.

In this time of ongoing challenge, we hope you will find solace in a community dedicated to ideas that advance equity, human dignity, and justice for all.


Ronald J. Daniels

Sunil Kumar
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs