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UPDATE: Burning Swastika Found Outside Saint Louis University Residence Hall

swasktika.jpg
Ryan McKinley
The remains of a swastika left on SLU's campus.
Saint Louis University students found a swastika formed out of lit tea candles outside a residence hall for first- and second-year students last week.

The campus' public-safety department and St. Louis Metropolitan Police are investigating, but police say they haven't identified a suspect.

The symbol seemed even more threatening and hateful, students said, after the recent news that three people were shot and killed during a former KKK leader's alleged anti-semitic killing rampage at two Jewish community centers in Kansas City. Also, Holocaust Remembrance Day was Sunday.

"It was really horrifying to see a to see a burning swastika outside the building that I live in and realize that this is something that happens on my campus, in my home," says Sarah Nash, a sophomore who lives in the dorm, called Marguerite Hall.

Update: A SLU spokesman says some students reported seeing the candles outside before they were arranged into the shape of a swastika, and it's unclear how or when the candles were rearranged. See the school's full statement below. End of update.

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Nash says she saw the swastika after two friends returning home from a bike ride found it and alerted her around 2 a.m. Wednesday.

"We wanted to get to the bottom of it so whoever did it would be talked to, would know it's wrong," Nash tells Daily RFT.

When the campus security finished a brief report and left the scene, Nash and her friends decided to call the police for further investigation.

"We decided to call the police department because the Department of Public Safety kind of wrote it off as a prank, like a kids-will-be-kids kind of mentality," she says. "The three of us felt like DPS wasn't taking it seriously."

See also: Missouri: 10th in Number of Anti-Semitic Incidents in '09

Here's SLU's full statement:

At SLU, we seek to foster an inclusive campus environment where everyone feels welcome, safe and respected. Acts of intolerance are unacceptable and are treated very seriously by the University. A full investigation into this incident is being conducted by our Office of Student Responsibility and Community Standards in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, as well as the Department of Public Safety. Although we are unable to comment in detail with respect to an open investigation, students have reported seeing the candles unlit in a different pattern outside the residence hall earlier in the evening. At this time, we not have determined who originally placed the candles there or for what purpose. We also have yet to determine who is responsible for altering the display, but our investigation is ongoing. At SLU, we're committed to providing a caring, effective and uniform response to anyone who is affected by a bias incident. We also have a number of programs and policies in place to address them. For example, four years ago, we adopted a new Hate Crime and Bias-Related Incident Protocol that ensures that incidents are addressed swiftly and aggressively, and that counseling and other support services are readily available to victims. Under the protocol, these cases also receive priority in our student conduct system.

Here's the full report from police:

Incident: Peace Disturbance (bias crime classification)

Location: 3800 block of West Pine

Date/Time: 4/23/2014 between 0000 and 0253

Victim: Saint Louis University

Suspect (s): Unknown

Students observed a spiral shaped Swastika lit by candles in the above mentioned location between 1:30 and 3:00am, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The students contacted Saint Louis University Campus Security and the police department about the incident. No suspect(s) has been identified. The investigation is ongoing.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

My Voice Nation Help
33 comments
Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

ya… we are so "post racism" that a lot of blacks voted for romney instead of obama.

Emily Weber
Emily Weber

You do realize that that symbol stood for something positive and good before the Nazi Party stole it and corrupted it...

Lisa Whitlow
Lisa Whitlow

omg what is wrong with people??!!! shameful. evolve already. we are so past racism and predjudice

Chris Unthank
Chris Unthank

Oh and I will fight to the deqth to defend anyone's rights. to free speech, Free thought, and the right to keep and bear arms so if they catch the dipshit lighting swastikas they can blow em away. Fuck political correctness. the country is becoming over sensitive pussies. Take a douche.

Chris Unthank
Chris Unthank

Act of hate my ass it was some drunk kids with tea candles.

Christian Anderson
Christian Anderson

Yes. I agree--think it through, dude (and the five people who "liked" it? "Thought policing"?! Really. This is not a thought--it's an act of hate, meant to traumatize. Missouri needs to get its shit together.

Wesley Daniels
Wesley Daniels

i had a bunch of jews burn a menorah on my yard once...

Bob Stclair
Bob Stclair

Steve Mincer do you know there skin head's ? Just because they have there hair short or shaved doesn't make them skin's . Have some black folks go into that bar ? Not some extremists black floks . Find out ? I shave my head an my gal of 8 year's is black . Just low amount of work to get outta the door .

Randall OftheFamily Dedert
Randall OftheFamily Dedert

Yeah, just being optimistic. The media uses race and sensationalizes isolated events to divide us and distract us from the real deal. All symbols and language have been obfuscated through the generations. Sometime I wonder if it is intentional haha just joking. I know it is :)

Kelli McRae
Kelli McRae

Chances are, they're not. Sadly, not many people know what this symbol really means. It's a shame. Good on you for knowing what's up.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

must be why there's such a low amount of robberies and murder in the city.

Scott Hoffmann
Scott Hoffmann

Maybe they were trying to keep warm, it's chilly at night

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

I am putting my money on this being some type of hoax....

Andrew Rock
Andrew Rock

How many nazis own tea candles... this is the part I'm most curious about.

Amanda Wasserman
Amanda Wasserman

I blame the rural towns in Missouri. Most people who grew up in urban and even suburban communities have more sense and less ignorance.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

remember the gay waitress that said people wrote a homophobic message on her receipt? remember that? yaaa... it turned out she was a liar. remember the duke rape case? yaaa... it turned out their accuser was a liar. stop losing your sh@t when these things happen. give it a day or two to be validated.

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Perhaps this is someone's way of remembering the holocost. We all celebrate in different ways. 

Chris Unthank
Chris Unthank

It was tea candles...where is the crime here? I'm more scared of thought policing than I am of some drunk kids making a swastika! P.C. is B.S

Megg Ray
Megg Ray

And how where we the "netuel"state during the civil war

Kristy Cognac Creighton
Kristy Cognac Creighton

23 individually identifiable hate groups operate in MO according to studies by the SPLC. This state needs to get a handle on its hate.

Jason Patrylo
Jason Patrylo

ah, the calling card of the close-minded bigot.

Joe Martinez
Joe Martinez

not cool is right...I consider this a hate crime.

Heather Robison
Heather Robison

So many people to be ashamed of in this city. Grow up.

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