Arrest made in one of seven recent anti-Semitic incidents at U of M

There have been several anti-Semitic incidents on campus lately.
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Police arrested a person of interest in connection to a swastika drawn on a desk at the University of Minnesota.

University police said the swastika was drawn on a desk that's located in a public area of the 17th Avenue Residence Hall, and according to Minnesota Daily it was reported Feb. 7.

On Thursday, police said they'd arrested a suspect. The suspect hasn't yet been charged, but he faces charges of criminal damage to property with bias, police said, adding they take incidents and reports of bias crimes "very seriously." They will be "comprehensively and completely investigated," police added.

The Star Tribune says the person arrested is an 18-year-old student who lives in the dorm.

"The University of Minnesota condemns all acts of hate on our campus. We are a community that values respect, inclusion and diversity. Hate is not welcome here," the U of M's Bias Response and Referral Network said.

This was one of seven anti-Semitic reports at the U of M since the beginning of December, including one on Feb. 8 when a Jewish student found someone had written "Nazis rule" on his whiteboard, along with a swastika and a drawing of a concentration camp, the Bias Response and Referral Network said.

GoMN has reached out to the University of Minnesota Police Department to see if they think these incidents are connected, and we'll update this story when we know more.

The university asks anyone who has information about the desk vandalism or any other bias incident to call the Department of Public Safety at 612-624-2677. Incidents can also be reported to the U of M's Bias Response and Referral Network by emailing endbias@umn.edu.

Uptick in anti-Semitic incidents

There's been an uptick in anti-Semitism and hate crimes in both the United States and the world recently, especially in the wake of the presidential election, advocacy groups have said.

One of the most recent incidents happened last month, when a string of bomb threats were made toward dozens of Jewish Community Centers in the U.S., including in Minnesota.

Hate crime statistics haven't been released for 2016 yet, but reports from 2015 show they've gone up a bit. The Anti-Defamation League said anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses in the U.S. nearly doubled in 2015 – 90 incidents were reported on 60 college campuses that year, compared to the 47 incidents that happened on 43 campuses in 2014.

The FBI also tracks hate crime statistics. The agency released its 2015 stats last fall, saying hate crimes rose from 5,479 in 2014 to 5,850 in 2015. It's worth noting, though, that hate crimes reported in 2013 were slightly higher than 2015, with 5,928 reported crimes.

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