WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — A Palestinian staff member at American University (AU) received a note containing hateful and threatening anti-Palestinian messages under their office door.
“No act of hate will deter us from supporting community members who are not only feeling the pain and weight of traumatic global events, but also the vulnerability of being subject to hateful acts in our own community,” she wrote in the email.
Last week, anti-semitic graffiti was found on Jewish students’ dorm room doors. These incidents have led the university to collaborate with the FBI to investigate, according to an email sent out by AU President Sylvia Burwell on Wednesday.
Anyone who is found responsible for the incidents will be subject to relevant laws, university policy, and appropriate disciplinary actions.
“To those who are responsible for the anti-Palestinian and antisemitic acts we have witnessed over the last several days, you do not represent the American University community,” Burwell continued. “We will take clear and consequential action against those found responsible for these threatening acts.”
Burwell said the university is supporting the staff member who was targeted by the latest incident and encouraged any faculty or staff in need of help to reach out to the School of Public Affairs’s dean’s office or HR employee relations.
The staff member who received the note shared his experience on his Facebook.
He said he grew up as a Palestinian in Israel and experienced a lot of racism before moving to the U.S. at age 29. After moving, he felt he could be himself, “free from having people make assumptions about me based on my name or my village or my native language.”
He said that feeling disappeared after receiving the hateful note.
Burwell emphasized that any acts of hate will not be tolerated on campus.
“Many community members—Muslim, Palestinian, Jewish, and Israeli—are scared, and our priority is to support them. The acts of a few will not detract from the commitment to human dignity throughout this community. I said on Friday that a core principle of inclusive excellence is that we stand for a thriving community where individuals of all identities and experiences are understood, appreciated, and fully included. Our community commitment to that principle is tested by these hateful acts. We respond to that test by recognizing the shared humanity of our fellow Eagles. We treat each other with respect and care and respect each other’s views even in disagreement. We support each other’s safety and well-being, because everyone in our community has a right to feel safe.”Sylvia Burwell, American University President
The American University Police Department (AUPD) will also continue to investigate both incidents. Any community member with information is encouraged to contact AUPD at (202) 885-2999.