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Thank You Letter to GWU President Knapp Regarding Swastikas

19 Groups Thank GWU President Steven Knapp for Statement and Actions Following Second Swastika Incident at GWU


To: President Steven Knapp

March 19, 2015

Dr. Steven Knapp
2122 I Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052


Dear President Knapp,


We strongly commend you for the immediate and forceful statement you issued following the second swastika incident at George Washington University on March 16, 2015.

We additionally appreciate the following actions, as noted in your statement:

  • Responding Immediately and Including Additional Law Enforcement as Necessary:“When the university learned this morning about the swastika’s presence, officers of the University Police Department responded immediately, both removing the swastika and launching a new investigation, which now includes the Metropolitan Police Department.”
  • Identifying this Action as a Hate Crime:“While the student claims his act was not an expression of hatred, the university is referring the matter to the MPD for review by its Hate Crimes Unit. At the same time, information we have developed through our investigation of the swastikas discovered several weeks ago has led us to conclude that that incident should also be referred to the Hate Crimes Unit.”
  • Defining a Swastika’s Harmful Relationship to the Jewish People:“Since its adoption nearly a century ago as the symbol of the Nazi Party, the swastika has acquired an intrinsically anti-Semitic meaning, and therefore the act of posting it in a university residence hall is utterly unacceptable. Our entire community should be aware of the swastika’s association with genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people and should be concerned about the extremely harmful effects that displaying this symbol has on individuals and on the climate of our entire university community.”
  • Creating an Education Program: “The university will embark on a program of educationto ensure that all members of our community understand the damage that symbols of hatred do to us all.”

Your swift and powerful actions have demonstrated decisive leadership and send a strong message that antisemitism will not be tolerated at George Washington University. Thank you.

We look forward to continuing to work together to protect Jewish students.  Please be in touch if we can assist you at any time.


AMCHA Initiative
American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists
Americans for Peace and Tolerance
Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA)
David Horowitz Freedom Center
Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET)
Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel
Iranian American Jewish Federation
Israeli-American Council (IAC)
National Conference on Jewish Affairs
Middle East Political and Information Network (MEPIN)
Proclaiming Justice to the Nations
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Students and Parents Against Campus Anti-Semitism
The Lawfare Project
Training and Education About the Middle East (T.E.A.M.)
Zionist Organization of America



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