Corpus Christi College and its Boat Club have come under scrutiny from its own students, after a swastika was found graffitied on the roof of the College’s boathouse.
The Boat Club estimates that the symbol was sprayed 10 years ago, when it was reported and painted over. However, the swastika has been discernible for at least the past three months.
Whilst the symbol’s visibility is allegedly subject to regular checks, it is only now that the Boat Club have organised for the symbol to be painted over again.
Members of the JCR have come forward to condemn the Boat Club’s handling of the situation.
A 2nd year student at Corpus, Eve Navias, told Cherwell: “It is totally unconscionable that a swastika has decorated Corpus property for at the very least three months without any effective action being taken to remove or report it. The boat club has a responsibility to take displays of antisemitism seriously.
“Failing to report incidents of this nature normalises acts of Anti-Semitism and makes Anti-Semitism more difficult to challenge.
“While deeply disappointed, I am somewhat unsurprised. Unfortunately, Corpus has had issues with antisemitism in the past. As a first year, a Swastika, along with the words ‘Heil Hitler’ were etched into the walls of my own room. Few attempts were made by college to find and punish the culprit.
“I would hope that going forward, the boat club and College as a whole will make a greater effort to prevent and properly deal with Anti Semitism in order to make college environment more welcome and comfortable for Jewish students.”
Corpus’ Equal Opportunities Committee said: “the Equal Opportunities Committe wholeheartedly condemns this behaviour. We would also like to stress that, while we do not know who is responsible for the drawing, and it is unclear how long it has been there, every one of us has a responsibility to call out vandalism of this ilk and Anti-Semitism in all its forms.
“We need to call it out rather than cover it up, and recognise that doing nothing only serves to perpetuate hatred.”
President of the Boat Club, Arthur Morris, said in a statement: “The Boat Club has never, does not, and will never in any way tolerate the revolting views that the symbol stands for. We are deeply sorry for any offence that has been caused and will continue to work to ensure that the principles of equality, tolerance and inclusivity are upheld in the club.”
President of Jsoc, Jacob Mendel told Cherwell: “In light of the Corpus Christi College Boat Club Statement, Jsoc appreciate the fact that the Boat Club will be painting over it as well as making sure the graffiti doesn’t make a further return. However, we are concerned that it has taken three months for it to get to this stage and hope that the Boat Club are more vigilant in the future.”
A Corpus spokesperson told Cherwell: “The College responds to all reports of anti-semitism (or any other form of racism) immediately and encourages students and staff to report any incidents to the Dean to ensure steps can be taken to remove any offending material swiftly and to enable an investigation to take place…the earlier incident referred to above was thoroughly investigated by the College but it was not possible to identify the culprit. The procedure [is] that such matters should be reported to the Dean in the first instance.”