When Jewish professor Elizabeth Midlarsky arrived to work Thursday, she found her Columbia University office spray-painted with red swastikas.
“I was in shock,” Professor Midlarsky told the student newspaper Columbia Daily Spectator. “I stopped for a moment because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.”
This is the second time Midlarsky, a psychology professor who teaches about the Holocaust at the Teacher's College of the private Ivy League university in Upper Manhattan, New York City, has been the target of a hate crime. In 2007, her office was also vandalized with anti-Semitic slurs.
The New York City Police Department is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, but so far, no one has been arrested.
"There were two swastikas and the word 'YID' on the wall," Detective Hubert Reyes of the NYPD told Al Jazeera.
Hate crimes have been on the rise in the United States for three years, the FBI reported earlier this month. Weeks ago, a gunman entered a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and killed 11 people, shouting “All Jews must die!” He has since pleaded not guilty.
"Anxiety over an anti-Semitic resurgence is never far from the surface,” Rabbi Danny Schiff, foundation scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh said. “The inexorable drumbeat of anti-Semitism can hardly be said to have been silenced."