Another swastika found on wall in UI English Building restroom

Another swastika found on wall in UI English Building restroom

URBANA — A month after a swastika was found painted in campus tunnel, another was found this week in a University of Illinois bathroom, according to UI police.

This one was found Monday drawn on a wall inside a men's restroom at the English Building at 608 S. Wright St., U., police said. They don't know when it happened.

Last month, a UI employee found a swastika painted in a basement tunnel connecting two laboratories east of the Quad.

"It's still hard to say whether the two are connected without knowing more about who's responsible," said UI police spokesman Pat Wade. "As you know, we get these reports from time to time, and we believe there are different people with different motivations who draw these.

"We always try to promote a welcoming environment on campus, so every time we get a report like this, we work directly with the affected groups on campus to provide safety resources and assistance," he said.

Erez Cohen, executive director of Illini Hillel, said he typically learns of these incidents soon after they're reported, whether from police or students.

"We're always aware within a short time," he said.

Cohen didn't think this swastika was drawn to coincide with Hanukkah, which began Sunday.

"I don't think that the perpetrators are that sophisticated to time these out with Jewish holidays," he said.

Regardless, he wanted to remind the community of why the swastika is so hateful.

"The swastika symbolizes the systematic murder of a third of the Jewish population less than a century ago," Cohen said. "Basically, this would be no different for a Jewish person to see than it would be for an African-American to see a Confederate flag. It's a sign of oppression, of hate, and it's a symbol of being terrorized."

But he said the perpetrators are outliers in the Champaign-Urbana community.

"We received a lot of positive support from the community around us since the shooting in Pittsburgh at the synagogue and up to this week, with regards to the earlier swastika," he said. "We're glad to see this community, different churches and different organizations approach us and show us a lot of support and show us that these acts do not represent the entirety of the Champaign-Urbana community."

Wade said there's no update in the investigation of the swastika found last month.