Swastikas and the Star of David were found day after day between 28th September and 3rd October at a student residence at the London School of Economics (LSE), reappearing each time they were removed. The LSE student newspaper, The Beaver, reported that the first instance occurred in Carr-Saunders Hall on 28th September, in which a swastika was found drawn on a sign in the lifts. The defaced sign was replaced the next day. However, two more swastikas were discovered that Sunday, one of which was found alongside a Star of David.
Residents within the student halls quickly transformed these antisemitic hate symbols into drawings of houses and peace signs. The Halls Committee and warden team then met to discuss this before yet another swastika was discovered on 3rd October on the newly replaced sign.
The President of the Halls Committee condemned this antisemitic graffiti which he stated was “trying to be divisive and separate us as a community”. He emphasised that the “way to overcome it is to come together”. Support has been offered to “anyone who had been affected in any way by these acts.”
The Metropolitan Police Service has been informed and measures are in place to ensure these incidents do not occur again in the future. No further reoccurrence has been reported.
LSE stated that “hate speech and deliberate provocation of this manner are abhorrent and completely contrary to LSE’s values of openness and inclusion”, adding that “any student caught engaging in this behaviour would face severe disciplinary actions, including expulsion from the residence”.
The Halls Committee is seeking to organise a series of events promoting tolerance and inclusivity as a result of this incident. However, the Halls Committee President has stated that the collective experience of dealing with such an upsetting series of events has made the community “better than it was before”.
We commend the Halls Committee and LSE’s warden team for their fast response to these incidents. Unfortunately, antisemitic graffiti has been a frequent occurence at campuses with incidents reported at various universities, including University of Sussex and University of Exeter.