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Antisemetic graffiti, now covered by duct tape, was found at the vacant property next to the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity chapter house on Oct. 20.

Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

A vacant property run by Campus Apartments — next door to the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity chapter house at 4040 Walnut St. — was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti on Friday night.  

The graffiti, found by members of AEPi around 11:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, read “The Jews R Nazis.” It has since been covered with duct tape and AEPi has contacted the University’s Division of Public Safety to investigate.

“The police came over, looked at it, removed the tape just to take a photo of the graffiti themselves, then put the tape back on and filed a report,” the AEPi president, who requested anonymity out of fear of personal safety, said. 

DPS wrote to the DP in a statement on Saturday that they will investigate the incident as “a potential hate crime.”  

“Public Safety was contacted this morning regarding graffiti written on the door at 4044 Walnut Street. Penn Police responded, took a report, and are providing support to the reporting parties. The reporting party stated that the writing was discovered last evening,” the statement read.

In response to a request for comment, a Campus Apartments spokesperson confirmed that its property at 4044 Walnut Street was vandalized.

"We take vandalism very seriously and do not condone any behaviors that stem from prejudice or hate," the spokesperson wrote. "We appreciate Penn Police Department’s attention to this matter and will provide any help possible to aid in the investigation of this incident. 

AEPi describes itself as “the world’s Jewish college fraternity,” while Campus Apartments is owned by David Adelman, the chair of the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation.

There is no evidence confirmed by The Daily Pennsylvanian that the vandalism was targeted at AEPi or Campus Apartments.

The spokesperson added that Campus Apartments was prioritizing the wellbeing of its residents and Penn students, and "anything that threatens that will not be tolerated.”

“It’s very disturbing to myself, the chapter, and the Jewish community at Penn. We are hoping that this all ends peacefully and quickly as possible for all,” the AEPi president said. 

The DP reached out to Penn Hillel for a comment in regards to the incident, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The incident comes one month after an unknown individual vandalized the Hillel building ahead of a morning prayer service, knocking over "several pieces of furniture" and "shouting antisemitic obscenities about Jewish people," according to a Hillel statement.

In response to the incident on Sept. 21, Hillel wrote that it had asked Penn to provide full time security in front of the Hillel building "beginning immediately." Penn's statement came hours before Penn Hillel held a campuswide show of support for Jewish students.

In addition, a spray-painted swastika was discovered in a spray room on the fourth floor of Meyerson Hall in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design on the evening of Sept. 13, two days before the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Weitzman Dean Frederick Steiner wrote in an email to the Weitzman school community on Sept. 14 that DPS was investigating the incident and encouraged students with information to contact school administrators. The swastika has since been painted over.

On Sept. 22, Penn administrators condemned the vandalism at Penn Hillel and the swastika discovered at Meyerson Hall, pledging additional steps to protect Jewish students.

On Wednesday, President Liz Magill addressed the Penn community for a third time since the start of the current violence between Israel and Hamas, warning that hate speech and violence are not tolerated amid recent rallies in solidarity with Israel and Palestine.

In an email sent on Tuesday, Penn Hillel Executive Director and Rabbi Gabe Greenberg addressed a pro-Palestine rally held on campus on Monday and highlighted DPS's commitment to protecting Penn’s Jewish community. He shared that Penn has committed extra funding to meet Penn Hillel’s extra security needs through the end of the 2024-25 school year.