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Bradley University investigating graffiti on campus targeting Jewish community

Antisemitic graffiti was sprayed outside Bradley Hall and at two other Bradley University campus locations this morning.
Antisemitic graffiti was sprayed outside Bradley Hall and at two other Bradley University campus locations Friday morning.

The Bradley University Police Department is investigating an alleged hate crime on Bradley's campus.

According to the department, a person spray painted graffiti at various locations on campus between 3:45 and 4:22 a.m. Friday.

Bradley President Stephen Standifird said in an email to the campus community that the graffiti was targeted toward members of the Jewish community.

"These acts are completely against the fabric of who we are as a university," Standifird said. "Bradley University has no tolerance for acts of bias, hatred, violence or intimidation toward any member of our community. Regardless of how you identify, this is a place you should feel safe. Those responsible will be found and held accountable."

This comes at a time when reports of similar incidents against the Jewish and Muslim communities are increasing nationwide amid domestic tensions over the Gaza conflict. Earlier this week, WEEK-TV reported about anti-Muslim graffiti found at a CityLink bus stop in Peoria. The U.S Department of Education is also launching a probe into K-12 and higher education institutions over the alleged rise in incidents on campuses around the nation.

Photos of the suspect taken from Bradley University security cameras.
Courtesy of the Bradley University Police Department
Photos of the suspect taken from Bradley University security cameras.

"AEPi Supports Genocide" was spray painted outside Bradley Hall. That apparently refers to Alpha Epsilon Pi that has a fraternity house on Fredonia Avenue The building also was vandalized. Workers were power spraying the graffiti off the house Friday afternoon.

Alpha Epsilon Pi International CEO Rob Derdiger said what happened at Bradley is one of just dozens of examples. The group called on Bradley University administration and university higher-ups around the country to redouble efforts to protect Jewish students and institutions, and expel students violating the university's code of conduct.

"Anything less is unacceptable. It is no longer time for words. It is time for action to protect Jewish students," Derdiger said.

Matthew Lorch, executive director of Bradley Hillel, said he's reached out to students to address any concerns they have.

"Many of them are angry," he said. "Some of them are scared, they worry if they can come back to campus or not, if they will be safe on campus. I have done my best to assure them all that Hillel is here for them. The campus Chabad is here for them that we will not let this go, that the university has offered their support and ensuring people are safe on campus by increasing police presence."

Lorch said students can access mental health counseling on campus, and that Bradley Hillel is available for spiritual counseling for all students. He said he looks forward to working with the campus to ensure the safety needs of students are being met.

"It is very hard to combat any type of hate speech," he said. "And it is an unfortunate reality of life that things like this occur. But I think it is better to try to do something than not do anything at all. And I know Bradley is at least trying to do something, and for that I'm appreciative."

Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Bradley University Police Department at (309) 677-2000 or the Peoria Police Department at (309) 673-4521. Reports also can be filed anonymously through tip 411 or Crime Stoppers at (309) 673-9000.

The Bradley Police Department said there is not an imminent threat to the campus. Bradley students are on spring break this week.

Camryn Cutinello is a reporter and digital content director at WCBU. You can reach Camryn at cncutin@illinoisstate.edu.
Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.