College fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon’s George Washington University chapter has reported that a Torah scroll was vandalized at its on-campus house.
Tau Kappa Epsilon told reporters that fraternity members found the religious text covered with “laundry detergent” as well as hot sauce “poured all over” the kitchen early Sunday morning.
George Washington University officials said campus police are investigating the matter with assistance from D.C.’s Metropolitan police.
Tau Kappa Epsilon: ‘Blatant Act of Antisemitism’
Chris Osborne, president of the GWU fraternity chapter, told campus newspaper The Hatchet that the vandalism was discovered at around 3 a.m. Sunday morning, when members were returning to the house. He estimated the break-in occurred between midnight and 2 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Osborne said the Torah scroll was being stored in the house’s basement, along with other religious texts that are used to initiate new members, according to The Hatchet.
“There was a Christian Bible and a Jewish Torah in the room, and only the Jewish Torah was vandalized. I believe it was a hate crime,” he said.
Elsewhere in the house, Osborne said fraternity members discovered more signs of a break-in.
“There was hot sauce poured all over the kitchen walls, the ceiling, the fridge, the kitchen appliances, floor, etcetera,” he said. “And other miscellaneous items were thrown around, there were decks of playing cards sprawled out all over the floor on the first floor.”
Smoke detectors were also found removed from the wall, Osborne said.
In a statement posted to Instagram Sunday, fraternity leadership said it was with university officials in the ongoing investigation.
“Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers,” the statement read.
According to CNN, Osbourne estimates the GWU Tau Kappa Epsilon chapter membership to “about a quarter” Jewish, “roughly mirroring the Jewish population of GWU,” the outlet added.
University, ADL Condemn Vandals
GWU president Thomas LeBlanc said campus officials are “providing all resources necessary” for an investigation into the matter on Sunday.
“I want to be clear: I condemn all such acts of antisemitism and all forms of hatred, discrimination, and bias in our community,” he said in a post on the school’s website. “Any act of antisemitism is an attack on the entire GW community and cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”
The members of Tau Kappa Epsilon also reportedly enlisted the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in investigating the incident.
“Very disturbed to learn about this hateful incident that took place overnight at the TKE fraternity house on GWU’s campus,” the ADL said in a statement. “We’ve spoken with students & reached out to campus PD. We expect a full & rapid investigation.”
“When an incident happens, we will work directly with law enforcement to make sure that a swift and proper investigation is handled,” said Meredith Weisel, the senior associate regional director of the D.C. office of the ADL. “We also will be supportive for the students, so we can help them navigate through this process.”
Neither campus police nor D.C. Metro officials have issued a statement on the investigation, and no suspect has been named.
Authorities have also not said whether they are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Detectives are asking anyone with information on the break-in to call George Washington University Police at 202-994-6111 or Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police at 202-727-9099.