Amid continued demonstrations, swastika drawn on USC's campus

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27, 2024 - USC students, who protest the war in Gaza, spend time at the tent camp they erected at Founders Park on the USC campus in Los Angeles on April 27, 2024. The campus gates are closed to the public and the marquee 65,000-attendee "main stage" commencement ceremony has been called off. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times)
USC students protesting the Israel-Hamas war in their tent encampment at Founders Park. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

In the midst of tense demonstrations at USC over the war in Gaza, officials found a swastika drawn on a campus fence.

"Clearly it was drawn there just to incite even more anger at a time that is so painful for our community," USC President Carol Folt wrote in a statement on Instagram. "I condemn any antisemitic symbols or any form of hate speech against anyone."

Folt said the swastika was removed hours after it was reported to campus officials Tuesday afternoon — the day that she again met with student organizers who have demanded that the university divest from any financial ties to Israel.

The swastika was found about 3 p.m. Tuesday on a brick column that is part of the fence that borders USC's campus on Vermont Avenue, according to David Carlisle, the assistant chief of public safety for the university. He said the symbol appeared to be drawn in black permanent marker.

Read more: USC protests remain peaceful after campus is closed; LAPD calls off tactical alert

Carlisle said USC's public safety team documented the incident as vandalism before handing the case to the LAPD. He said no arrests have been made in the investigation and that there was no video evidence from the location.

USC's Hillel, a center for university Jewish life, said it was disturbed to learn about this symbol of antisemitism on campus.

"To see this unambiguous symbol of Jew hatred on our campus is deeply distressing," Hillel wrote in a statement. "There is no place for such hostility and hate at USC."

Access to USC's campus remains restricted to students, faculty, staff and registered guests after more than a week of protests at the university — and campuses across the nation — over the Israel-Hamas war.

Demonstrations in recent days have remained peaceful at USC, following an initially tense day when the Los Angeles Police Department swarmed campus demonstrators and arrested almost 100 people.

“We are still monitoring the demonstration on campus and patrolling the perimeter of our campus to make sure our access restrictions are enforced," Carlisle said.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.