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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Swastikas found at Putah Creek part of recent acts of vandalism at site

Second anti-Semitic incident in matter of months occurs on campus

Recent acts of destructive vandalism at UC Davis’ Putah Creek Riparian Reserve included swastikas painted on a tree in the area. This is the second anti-Semitic incident on campus in a matter of months.

The vandals also burned two wooden picnic benches and spray-painted graffiti in the area, according to the Davis Enterprise, which also made note of previous vandalism consisting of another burned table and the destruction of signs and a portable toilet at the site.

In a public acknowledgement of the vandalism, Chancellor Gary May said he was “particularly disturbed that in the most recent incident […] someone painted a vile anti-Semitic symbol on a tree.”

“It should not have to be said, but I will repeat, that such hate has no place in our community,” May’s statement read.

ASUCD President Michael Gofman, who is Jewish, and ASUCD Press Secretary Samantha Boudaie addressed the incident in a press release sent to The California Aggie.

“The ASUCD Executive Office is appalled by the swastikas found in Putah Creek and thank the admin for recognizing and calling attention to this blatant hate crime,” the statement read. “UC Davis has no home for bigotry of any sorts, including antisemitism. Our students need proactive action against hatred in all its forms, both flagrant and subtle going forward. It is beyond unacceptable to see such malice continuing to emerge.”

In October, anti-Semitic fliers were posted throughout campus and credited to a local division of a known neo-Nazi site. Just one day before the fliers were posted on campus, a UC Davis student found swastikas carved into the concrete at Arroyo Park in the City of Davis.

Following these incidents, Jewish student leaders met with Chancellor May and other administrators. From that meeting, the chancellor committed to hold a town hall and a series of trainings to recognize and prevent the presence of anti-Semitism on campus. None of these events have taken place.

Students took matters into their own hands, organizing a workshop aimed at combating anti-Semitism hosted by the Anti-Defamation League in November and a second workshop that also addressed anti-Semitism was organized separately and recently hosted by a representative from Jewish Voice for Peace. The university made it clear that it was not involved with either of these events.

The UC Davis Police Department has increased patrol in the area and it asks that anyone with information about the incidents contact the department at (530) 752-1727.

Written by: Hannah Holzer — campus@theaggie.org


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