Kansas State University President Richard Myers on Monday condemned the destruction of a Jewish structure on campus.
A sukkah — a temporary dwelling erected during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot — was removed sometime Friday night from the lawn behind Goodnow Hall, a residential complex. During Sukkot, the dwelling, which student group Hillel built Oct. 3, provides a place for people to meet and eat. It was rebuilt Sunday morning.
“I want to emphasize how deeply concerned the K-State family is about this incident,” Myers said in a letter. “There is no place in our community for hateful, criminal reactions to religious expression. Many who live or work on our campuses, particularly those of the Jewish community, are experiencing significant pain and fear as a result of this act.”
The vandalism is the latest anti-Semitic act on campus, organizers said. In April, anti-Semitic posters were found on K-State’s campus on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“The act was certainly anti-Semitic in effect, and given the sign on the sukkah, the vandals could have had no doubt about who would be harmed by their actions,” said K-State assistant professor and Hillel advisor Greg Newmark. “In the most generous of interpretation, the people who did this are remarkably insensitive.”
Myers emphasized that K-State students, faculty and staff represent a wide range of spiritual and religious beliefs.
“This dimension of diversity is essential to our campus community,” he said. “It is in our best interest, as a K-State family, to engage in civil dialogue about such differences and not resort to uncivil and hurtful behaviors.”
A Sukkot Solidarity Dinner is being planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bosco Plaza in response to the incident. The eight-day holiday celebrates the fall harvest.
In September, the university found several posters with white supremacist messages across campus, including a noose hanging from a tree.
Contact reporter Luke Ranker at (785) 295-1270 or @lrankerNEWS on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/lukeranker.