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Penn State Administrators Respond to Anti-Semitic Vandalism at Beta Sigma Beta

Several Penn State administrators, including President Rodney Erickson, issued a letter today in response to anti-semitic vandalism outside of the Beta Sigma Beta fraternity last week.

Last Friday, police reported about a dozen cars outside the Beta Sigma Beta were spray painted overnight with anti-Semitic slogans, swastikas, sexual pictures, and sexual phrases. A nearby garage and dumpster were also painted. The fraternity has traditionally had a large number of Jewish members.

Police are currently offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to finding the culprits, along with an additional $1,000 from the IFC and $3,000 from the Beta Alumni Association.

Several Penn State administrators issued the following letter earlier this afternoon in response to the incident:

It goes without saying, but saying it is important all the same. The recent hateful and offensive anti-Semitic vandalism directed toward Beta Sigma Beta fraternity is unacceptable in our community and should be unacceptable anywhere. Hateful behavior that feeds anxiety and division among us simply must not stand.

We are confident that the local police and University administrators responsible for investigating this matter will continue to do all they can to discover the individuals responsible. Appropriate and effective accountability is our hope. But while we await that outcome, there are things all of us can do.

We might, for instance, take this moment to reflect upon the value of free and equal citizenship in our community. We might better appreciate the importance of mutual respect and civility in a community dependent upon an engaged citizenry. All of us rely on one another after all, and we must treat one another with the care and consideration a successful community both requires and expects. Regardless what may have led to these offensive acts, the men of Beta Sigma Beta require our support, as do other members of our Jewish community, who understandably may be disquieted by this occurrence.

Beta Sigma Beta originated as the Alpha Chapter of Beta Samach, a Jewish fraternity founded by four students more than 100 years ago at Cornell after they were denied fraternity membership because of their religion. Much has changed in the century since that founding, and much of that change, both elsewhere and at Penn State, has advanced the value of free and equal citizenship among us. But misunderstanding and ignorance remain, and when those twin characteristics are left unattended, they breed among us hate and its accompanying behavior. Those are outcomes we all must stand against.

Rod Erickson

Nick Jones

Damon Sims
Vice President for Student Affairs

Terrell Jones
Vice Provost for Educational Equity

The Penn State IFC also released a statement, via Vice President for Communications Jordan Rolon, soon after. The IFC is offering an additional $1,000 on top of the police reward..

Last Friday, November 8th, the Beta Sigma Beta Fraternity and the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity
were victims of vandalism where anti-Semitic symbols were spray-painted on several vehicles in their respective parking lots.

The Interfraternity Council does not condone vandalism of any kind; however, we condemn these hateful acts in the strongest possible terms. As members of one of the top-ranked universities in the world, we pride ourselves on the diversity of our student body and embrace the benefits we obtain because of it. The fraternity and sorority community at Penn State recognizes and supports the many contributions made by our Jewish
members and organizations. Any member or organization of our Penn State community who participates in,
supports, or is involved in any act of hate demonstrates their complete misunderstanding of one of the basic fundamental concepts of being of member of this university. This misunderstanding and subsequent inappropriate behavior will result in severe sanctions and prosecution.

The Interfraternity Council Executive Board urges anyone with information about the incident to report it
immediately to the State College Police Department. The Police Department can be contacted at (814) 234-

Jeff Licht, the President of the Beta Alumni Association, also released a statement and announced this his organization will raise the total reward for finding the culprit(s) to $5,000.

Beta Sigma Beta recently celebrated our 100th uninterrupted year at Penn State University. We were born as a direct result of discrimination as Jews were not allowed to join fraternities. Today, while predominately a Jewish house, we have brothers worthy of being a Beta Sig based on merit versus religion or race.

Our undergraduates and alumni are disgusted by the recent hate crimes committed against our property and our brothers’ cars. There should be no place for anti-semitism in our country, let alone potentially matriculating within our prestigious university or living in our beloved Happy Valley.

Beta Sig will support all efforts of the University and State College Police in search of the perpetrator(s) in hope of swift justice. Hence, to aid in this effort to rid our community of anti-semitism, our fraternity will increase the reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit(s) to $5,000.

We are……….Penn State.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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