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Fifth Swastika Found on UND Campus


 A swastika drawn on a University of North Dakota law school window near one of the building’s entrances is the fifth found scrawled on campus in the past four months.

UND President Charles Kupchella and Provost Greg Weisenstein issued a statement saying they are “saddened, disappointed and disgusted.”

“There is no place (at) the University of North Dakota — or anywhere else, for that matter — for harassing, demeaning or culturally insensitive acts,” they said.

UND police have been investigating several incidents of racist graffiti on campus since February. A student has been charged with disorderly conduct in one of the cases.

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UND administrators have been criticized by regional Jewish organizations and by members of the Jewish Student’s Organization on campus for being too slow to react to reports of apparent hate-based incidents.

On Monday, the Midwest Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas issued a statement pledging to help UND improve its campus climate for Jews and other minorities.

The two groups are offering to provide training to UND police, housing staff, administrators and students, said Jenna Benn, assistant director of the Midwest chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.

“What we really think is the university needs a real overhaul,” she said. “It’s a multilevel approach. It’s a commitment, but they have a serious problem and they’re acknowledging it now.”

Benn said her group is asking UND to launch a full investigation of how hate crimes or racial crimes are reported on campus, and to improve lines of communication between the school’s housing office and upper administrators.

Kupchella and Weisenstein, in their statement, said “We will continue to do all that we can to sustain a welcoming and safe learning and working environment for everyone at the University of North Dakota.”

That includes, they said, prosecuting perpetrators through the university’s Code of Student life or the court system when warranted.

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