Silence follows anti-Semitic acts at Guilford

As pretty new walls and new dining facilities are built with promises from the Strategic Long Range Plan (SLRP) II to lure students into our fine Quaker institution by improving student outcomes, it takes one instance to remind us some things will always remain the same: the ability for some in the community to express deep-rooted hate. Describing the new flag in Mein Kampf, Hitler said the swastika symbolized the victory of the Aryan man, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. Today the symbol is most commonly associated with Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, neo-Nazis and other hate groups.

During the Jewish holy week, several Binford residents who are of Jewish faith found their doors marked with swastikas. Whether it is a ploy for attention or a genuine symbol dripping in Aryan brotherhood belief, no one can say. And part of that could be because very few people know about it.

Hillel, the Jewish club, posted an invitation on the Buzz for those who were interested in speaking about the bias incident. Since then, very little has been said by the administration and very few students walking the quad are armed with the knowledge this event even took place.

Some students who I have informed about the incident have told me that they assume the inflammatory statement was written by a student looking to get a reaction from their peers.

It is understandable, even cautiously predictable, to understand uneducated hate speech from a high school student, but not college students, even if they may be immature. There is no excuse or explanation for accepting forms of hate speech that are blatantly harmful.

The Southern Poverty Law Center reported the number of hate groups active in the United States has increased 54 percent since 2000. For example, the number of Ku Klux Klan groups increased significantly in 2008, and so did crews of racist skinheads.

Last year, Guilford experienced a well-publicized bias incident in Bryan involving a gay student, and the Guilford community responded by having a vigil, showing the local, national and campus community that at our school, we say “no, hell, no” to violent acts of bias.

Being a Guilford student does not mean we are not above reproach and do not make mistakes that might hurt others. Not all mistakes should be aired out to the public; they are a part of learning process.

But some actions undoubtedly need addressing, especially since the public placing of a swastika drawn on a dorm room door is a universally perceived violent action. If the administration feels otherwise, the Guilford community deserves to know.

Talking about public displays of violence allows the administration to calm student’s fears that they are keeping quiet to avoid bad press, even at the risk of giving the perpetrators of these harmful acts attention.

Hate-minded students should have no place on our campus. We work hard to be a safe-zone for students, faculty, and workers, a bastion of learning, growth and inclusiveness that is uniquely Guilford.

Not hearing the college’s administration come out with a clear stance on the anti-Semitic bias incident leads one to wonder if there is a new emerging core value: silence.