GWU cancels suspension of student who displayed swastika


George Washington University has canceled the suspension of a student who displayed a swastika on the bulletin board of a campus dormitory.

The student, a member of the predominantly Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, said he had hung the swastika in order to educate his fellow students about the symbol’s meaning of auspiciousness and good fortune, which he learned about during a trip to India. The Metropolitan Police Department and University Police Department launched and later closed a hate crimes investigation into the incident, which occurred on March 16.

Three swastikas had been drawn on walls at the dormitory, called the International House, which houses members of nine fraternities and sororities, at the end of February in an incident that is now also being investigated as a hate crime.

The suspension was recently overturned after Hindu, interfaith and Jewish groups wrote to University President Steven Knapp, to educate him about the significance of the swastika for Hindus, the Times of India reported Wednesday.

The symbol looks slightly different from the Nazi swastika.

“The swastika is one of the most sacred symbols of Hinduism, with a 3,000-year history of peace before it was misappropriated by the Nazis,” Samir Kalra, Hindu American Foundation  senior director told the Times of India.

— JTA News and Features

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