Israeli Sisters Find Swastikas in Indiana College's Dorm Room

Discovering drawing 'was like a kick in my stomach,' says University of Indianapolis student, while school vows to investigate 'act of hate and bigotry'

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Roberts Hall, University of Indianapolis.
Roberts Hall, University of Indianapolis.Credit: Screenshot/Google Street View

The University of Indianapolis is investigating after two Jewish sisters from Israel found swastikas drawn inside their dormitory room just after arriving on campus for the fall term.

Michal Sasson said she and her twin sister, Shira, were still carrying their suitcases when they discovered two pinkish-red swastikas Monday night on a wall in their room at Roberts Hall. She said the shocking find "was like a kick in my stomach" and that she and her sister were scared.

"I just said: 'We're miles and miles away from home, and this is our home away from home,'" Sasson told The Indianapolis Star. "And at that moment, I felt even further away from my house. I just felt like I was excluded, and it was very painful."

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The sisters, who are juniors, have attended the private university on Indianapolis' south side for the past two years. Both play basketball for the college, which is affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

School officials said in a statement that they're "saddened and angered by this act of hate and bigotry" and are investigating.

"Although we do not yet know the source of this anti-Semitic act, we should all be reminded that the University of Indianapolis is a welcoming and inclusive environment, denounces actions such as these, and does not tolerate anti-Semitic actions or any behavior that is aligned with ideologies that promote hate," the statement says.

The university's probe will include tracking down everyone who rented campus housing over the summer or had access to the sisters' room.

School spokeswoman Sara Galer told The Associated Press that she didn't know whether the sisters were assigned to that same dorm room during the last school year.

Galer said the swastikas were apparently drawn with a type of pink eraser. "If you rub an eraser on a wall it leaves a mark. It was like that," she said.

Michal Sasson said the love and support she and her sibling have received from friends, family and school employees have made the situation easier. She said the university also booked them an off-campus hotel room for a few nights.

"I'm very pleased at the way they're handling it," she said.

The Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council said it appreciates the college's quick action and its statement condemning anti-Semitic acts.

"In these difficult times we ask that everyone continue to report hateful symbols and speech meant to intimidate or spread fear to the proper authorities," the council's assistant director, David Sklar, said in a statement.