Perelman Center vandalized in latest of antisemitic incidents | The Triangle

Perelman Center vandalized in latest of antisemitic incidents

Photo by Evie Touring | The Triangle

President John Fry issued a statement on April 2 announcing that the Perelman Center for Jewish Life was vandalized during Drexel’s spring break. 

The vandalism was reportedly caught on video and conducted by a “group of masked individuals” who removed “several of the metal letters on the brick marquee backdrop that greets visitors,” President Fry shared. 

He also mentioned that Drexel Police are investigating the incident and identified it as a hate crime.

“It bears repeating that vandalizing centers of Jewish life and learning, defacing property with antisemitic graffiti, or ripping mezuzot off doorposts in residence halls does not constitute any legitimate form of protest,” the statement continued, referencing the series of antisemitic incidents on campus over the past six months. 

Drexel Hillel Executive Director Rabbi Isabel de Koninck provided more information on the timing of this vandalism in a letter to the Drexel Hillel Community

“After reviewing surveillance footage, the police determined that the letters were stolen by a group of masked vandals on Friday morning before sunrise,” stated Rabbi Isabel. “In the past seven days our Philadelphia Jewish community has been the site of far too many incidents of antisemitic graffiti and vandalism including at synagogues in Center City and on the Main Line.”

Drexel Hillel President Dan Soslowsky joined in on the discussion of the vandalism of the Perelman Center’s impact on Drexel’s Jewish community.

“​​It pains me to hear about the vandalism of the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life. The Perelman Center has been a safe space for me and hundreds of Drexel students for years and is a staple of the Jewish community at Drexel. It is a place for peaceful prayer, life, and community. Vandalizing Jewish spaces is not criticizing Israel’s government, supporting innocent Gazans, or wanting peace. It is targeting a group of people with hate, intimidation, and division. That is emphatically antisemitic,” said Soslowsky.

The antisemitic incident was addressed in a statement sent to the university community on Jan. 16, stating that “a message glorifying Adolf Hitler appeared over the weekend on a classroom whiteboard in the College of Computing & Informatics at 3675 Market Street.”

Prior to that, an arson was reported at a Jewish student’s dorm room on Oct. 10 and antisemitic graffiti in the women’s bathroom of Academic Building. 

On Dec. 20, 2023, President Fry released a statement notifying the Drexel community about the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights opening an investigation into the university’s treatment of Jewish students and response to the antisemitic incidents. Drexel joined other colleges as one of more than 20 investigations opened by the OCR.