The Facebook post led almost immediately to a response from campus officials — "Statement on Sellery Hall incident":
University Housing and the Division of Student Life responded to this incident immediately, providing support to the targeted students and identifying the perpetrator. After investigating, we notified the Sellery Hall community via email and organized a discussion and support group, in keeping with the context of the situation and appropriate protocols.That's the explanation for why we hadn't heard about it yet from university officials. Of course, nothing prevented the students from reacting and speaking however they wanted. The Facebook post is one such reaction — interestingly, it's a reaction not to the incident itself, but to the absence of reaction to it.
When a bias incident occurs, our first priority is to respond immediately to the community most directly affected....
The UW official response continues with an invitation "to attend a Town Hall on Anti-Semitism on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at Gordon Dining & Event Center as we discuss actions that will continue to address intolerance and hate."
I'm frustrated by the absence of reporting on the question of the motive for putting this stuff on the door. It so often seems to be the case that perpetrators of incidents like this are not expressing their own feelings of hate but trying to make people think that there are haters and that the problem of hate is an emergency that must get attention now. Which was this? Or is there something else that could have happened? — I'm wondering as I wade through this obscure passage in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
The student [who wrote the Facebook post] said she was upset that students campuswide hadn't been told about it, and that the university wasn't using it as an opportunity to educate students about why taping hate symbols on a Jewish student's door isn't a harmless "prank."It's possible that it was just a stupid idea of how to be outrageously funny. That's a problem, but it's not the problem of anti-Semitism. It's fine to have a "Town Hall on Anti-Semitism," nevertheless. But responses to problems should be keyed to what the problem actually is. I still don't know. Pranks that incorporate transgressive speech?
"You do not expect to wake up and see this," Greg Steinberger, executive director of the University of Wisconsin Hillel Foundation for Jewish student life, said during the news conference. But he said he thought the university had responded appropriately.
The student whose door was covered with swastikas also wrote about it on Facebook, calling it an "insensitive joke/prank gone wrong by two people who had no idea what they were doing," according to WISC-TV in Madison.
The victim wrote that he believed anti-Semitism should be addressed. However, he also didn't want to "demonize two guys that I have gotten to know well and who were not cognizant of how anti-Semitic their actions were."