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Crime

Cal Poly Jewish fraternity vandalized with swastikas, anti-Semitic phrases

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Members of Cal Poly's Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity are in shock after they found anti-semitic graffiti on their house over the weekend.

"It was absolutely shocking ... I mean I live at the house here ... to wake up and come outside and see pure hatred ... absolutely targeted toward the Jewish fraternity here," says Public Relations Chair Sid Leipsic of the fraternity.

Fraternity brother and Risk Manager Amit Sharir of the fraternity is from Israel.

While he says he’s seen anti semitism before, he feels shaken by what happened to the Jewish- affiliated fraternity, "I was shocked. I moved here from Israel when I was twelve. But I’ve never seen some thing hit so close to home here at Cal Poly."

In a letter sent to the Cal Poly Community, university administrators condemned the vandalism saying, “Let us be perfectly clear: behavior that promotes any form of hate and seeks to make members of our community feel unsafe and unwelcome – especially in their own home – has absolutely no place in our community..”

"We were the target of an anti-Semitic crime through vandalism using swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs ... and in the 24 hours our organizations along with Cal Poly faculty and plenty of other Jewish organizations in San Luis Obispo came together to speak out against this act," says President Noah Matlof of the fraternity.

While some students at the fraternity house are still in shock over what happened, they say they’re also overwhelmed by the amount of support they are receiving from the community

"100 percent. I mean that’s what that’s what we stand for ... our brotherhood is very important for us and also the Jewish community," says Sharir.

The incident was reported to the San Luis Obispo Police Department and an investigation is underway.

"We just wanna teach everyone that Judaism is absolutely about love," says Leipsic.

In the meantime, Cal Poly is making resources available to anyone who needs them.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Cal Poly leaders chose not to share photos but they did send a message to the community about what happened overnight at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house during the religious observance known as Shabbat.

President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, along with other leadership, notified Cal Poly students and families that a hate crime had taken place at the Jewish-student-affiliated fraternity.

"Earlier today we learned that the area in front of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house, a Jewish-student-affiliated organization, was vandalized last night with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti. This incident has been reported to the San Luis Obispo Police Department and an investigation is underway.

Let us be perfectly clear: behavior that promotes any form of hate and seeks to make members of our community feel unsafe and unwelcome – especially in their own home – has absolutely no place in our community.

This incident occurred on the Shabbat, a day of religious observance in the Jewish community that takes place from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday, making this especially hurtful to members of the community.

The residents of that house have begun to clean and repair the damage. While the visible scars may fade away, the emotional scars will last much longer. As members of the community, we are struggling to comprehend the heinous nature of this crime, alongside our Jewish community.

Earlier today, university leadership met with representatives of Jewish student organizations and community leaders to offer their support and make university resources available.

Please know that Cal Poly has a variety of resources and programs to help you through this difficult time. Listed are some campus and community resources, including."

Jeffrey D. Armstrong - President, Keith B. Humphrey - Vice President for Student Affairs, and Denise Isom-Interim Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

Shabbat is known as the day of rest for the Jewish community and takes place during the seventh day of the week.

The fraternity shared a statement as well, saying no matter what others do, they are proud to be Jewish and plan to continue spreading awareness about anti-Semitism.

"Last week, on January 27th, we honored the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished and others affected by the Holocaust. Unfortunately, in 2021, antisemitism is still the number one cause of hate crimes in the United States.

This morning, a hateful group of people committed an antisemitic hate crime on our chapter house. We awoke to multiple swastikas and antisemitic statements spray-painted on and in front of our house. This was targeted at us, as the Jewish fraternity, and we would like to let the world know we do not tolerate or condone this behavior. Our chapter and the entire San Luis Obispo Jewish community stand together proudly against those who are uneducated and who encourage hateful acts.

We are proud to be the Jewish fraternity on this campus, and at this time we ask for your support in spreading awareness about rising antisemitism through education and discussion. AEPi and the Jewish community have an open door to anyone who wishes to learn about our culture and beliefs. It is our mission to make Cal Poly a safe place for everyone.

Shabbat Shalom — Peace and Love"

Alpha Epsilon Pi

We will have more on this story tonight.

Education / San Luis Obispo County
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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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