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Written by Student Rights on 17 May 2016 at 10am

Racist graffiti found at Durham University

Student accommodation and college boathouses at Durham University have been vandalised with antisemitic and anti-Muslim graffiti.

Yesterday, the Tab reported that swastikas and SS symbols had been painted on the doors of student housing, as well as the words “rape Ali”.

Katie Briggs, a student at Collingwood College, told the Tab this was the second time these houses had been vandalised and went on to say:

“We’re not sure who it is or why our houses are targeted, but knowing that someone who would spread symbols of hate like that was so close to being in our house is a bit scary.”

Several college boathouses were also vandalised with swastikas, an SS sign, the word “Auschwitz” and a crude drawing of a monkey accompanied by the phrase: “Muslim monkey”.

Simon Zeffert, President of the Durham University Jewish Society, said:

“It’s deeply disturbing to see these disgusting symbols being graffitied in Durham.

It doesn’t just affect Jewish people, it’s hostile to all students. I’ll be swiftly reporting it to the Community Security Trust.”

Student Rights reported on similar incidents at Goldsmiths College in March, and at the University of Birmingham in January 2015.

We have also closely followed the movements of far-right groups, like the neo-Nazi organisation National Action, which seek to target universities with racist material.

Only last week, we reported that National Action had boasted of an increased number of on-campus supporters and had threatened to target students.

The group recently created a new Facebook page for its North East-based activists, and universities should be aware of its member’s efforts to carry out leaflet and poster drops on campuses.

It is unclear whether or not the graffiti at the University of Durham was a coordinated attack by an organised far-right group or simply local vandals.

However, it has been reported to the local council and police force.

The use of violent phrases and racist imaginary is deeply worrying, and these incidents must be pursued by the local authorities.

Student Rights will continue to monitor the activity of the far-right in the North East and report on any further updates.