Fraternity Expels Member Involved in International House Incident

GW has referred the act to the D.C. police Hate Crimes Unit for further investigation.

International House
March 18, 2015

The George Washington University chapter of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity has expelled a member who said he had posted a swastika on the fraternity’s bulletin board in International House on the Foggy Bottom Campus.

The swastika was found Monday morning by members of the Phi Alpha Alpha chapter of the fraternity at GW and was reported to police.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable and is not tolerated by the brothers of this fraternity,” chapter President Nicholas Carr said in a statement. “We are appalled by the actions taken by this undergraduate.”

Laurence A. Bolotin, executive director of ZBT’s national’s chapter, said in a statement sent to parents of students in the GW chapter of the fraternity that the national chapter was “appalled” by the former member’s action and “applauds” the chapter for “taking swift action.” The statement also encouraged GW to hold the student “accountable to the fullest extent.”

“Vandalism of this nature goes against everything for which ZBT stands,” Mr. Bolotin said.

George Washington President Steven Knapp said in a message to the GW community that University Police responded immediately, removed the swastika and started an investigation along with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Dr. Knapp said that the university has referred the matter to the MPD for review by its Hate Crimes Unit.

The incident Monday follows a previous discovery of swastikas in International House reported earlier this month. The university also has identified the individual involved in the earlier incident.

Dr. Knapp said information that GW has developed through its investigation of the swastikas has led the university to conclude that the prior incident also should be referred to the MPD Hate Crimes Unit.

In his message, Dr. Knapp said that the swastika has acquired an intrinsically anti-Semitic meaning, and 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,” Dr. Knapp said.

“The university will embark on a program of education to ensure that all members of our community understand the damage that symbols of hatred do to us all,” Dr. Knapp said.

Hillel Executive Director and Zeta Beta Tau Chapter Adviser Yoni Kaiser-Blueth added that “the swastika is a symbol of hate and horror.”

“It has no place here at The George Washington University,” he said.

Christina Witkowicki, director of student involvement and Greek life, said, “Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity continues to be an important partner in the GW community and makes valuable contributions to this community in support of its founding purpose as the world’s first Jewish fraternity.”