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Swastika found near dorm at University of Toledo

The graffiti was found Tuesday and has since been removed, but not before causing a wave of concern for Jewish students and the local community.

TOLEDO, Ohio — University of Toledo officials found a swastika painted on the ground near the Honors Academic Village dorm on Tuesday.

The anti-Semitic graffiti has since been removed, but not before causing concern and an uproar from Jewish students and the community.

"A lot of people have come out of the closet in the sense that they're more empowered with their racist beliefs," graduate student Hamzah Rizvi said.

Rizvi contributes this behavior to the current political climate. He used to live near the Honors Academic Village and calls the act despicable and the work of a coward.

"Hopefully they find who did this," Rizvi said, "and if people are so proud of their beliefs, why not be open and up front about it?"

Stephen Rothchild, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo says it's concerning this happened so close to home. He stressed there has been a rise in anti-Semticism in the last month but believes that most people don't share those views.

"It's not who we are as Toledoans," Rothchild said. "It's not who we are as Americans. There's no room for hate in America."

Both men say college campuses are supposed to be a place for exploration and diversity of people and ideas.

At the end of the day, Rothchild says hate is something that is taught, and most of it stems from not knowing enough about one another.

"The most important thing, I think, is to call out hate when you see it," Rothchild said, "to respond to it with love and additional education."