Sacramento State University (Photo/California State University)
Sacramento State University (Photo/California State University)

Return to campus marred by antisemitic vandalism at S.F. State and Sac State

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Two California State University campuses are dealing with incidents of antisemitic and racist graffiti shortly after the start of the fall semester.

On Aug. 28, “Disturbing antisemitic, racist and homophobic messages” were found in a dormitory at San Francisco State University, according to an Aug. 30 message from San Francisco Hillel.

Two days later at Sacramento State, a swastika was discovered on a classroom wall on Sept. 1, and another was found the following day on J Street near the entrance of campus, according to a message from university president Robert S. Nelsen. 

“I love Sac State, I love Sacramento. That swastika is not Sac State. It has no place here,” Nelsen said at a Sept. 2 press conference organized by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Nelsen and Steinberg were joined by faith leaders from the local Christian and Muslim communities, as well as Jewish community leaders.

a big glass building with students walking through a lawn in front
J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University. (Photo/Wikimedia-Webbi1987)

“These acts are horrid and despicable and all too frequent,” said Bruce Pomer, president of the board of trustees of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, who was joined at the press conference by Sharon Rogoff, chair of the Sacramento JCRC.

The mayor noted it was the second time in a week that the region had seen public displays of antisemitism; the other incident was in Davis, where members of a white supremacist group hung banners — including one that read “The Holocaust is an Anti-White Lie”  —  over a highway that passes through UC Davis.

Darrell Steinberg
Darrell Steinberg

Steinberg praised his community for coming together over hateful actions in the city, and singled out antisemitism as “one of the world’s oldest hatreds” perpetrated by people who wish to destroy the Jewish people.

“They will never ever succeed so long as we fight,” the Jewish mayor said. “So long as we mean ‘Never again.’ And so long as we stand together.”

At SFSU, the perpetrator reportedly has been identified, according to S.F. Hillel.

“We understand that the individual responsible for the hateful vandalism has been identified and is going through university disciplinary proceedings,” director Rachel Nilson Ralston said via a statement. “We are grateful for the quick reporting of this craven act and the university’s swift investigation and condemnation.”

According to Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office, hate crimes targeting Jews last year were at their highest level in a decade, totaling 152 reported incidents in the state. In 2012, the earliest year for which data was available, there were 91 incidents.