OBERLIN, Ohio-- Police are increasing patrols near the campus of Oberlin College after a professor's home was vandalized and a note left on the door with what is described as a threatening, anti-Semitic message.
Oberlin Police Chief Juan Torres says the act has been elevated to a hate crime, and as such has become a priority for his department.
"The homeowners are Jewish and the note stated something like 'Jewish people die' or 'gas Jewish people' on the door," said Torres.
The college says it is cooperating with authorities.
Oberlin College professor Marvin Krislov sent an email to students that reads:
To the Oberlin community:
It is with deep outrage and sorrow that we report that one of our colleagues and his family were the victims of a cowardly, hateful act last night. The outside of their home was vandalized and a note left behind that included antisemitic and threatening language. The Oberlin Police Department is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
As the General Faculty discussed yesterday, this is a moment of great stress and consternation, both nationally and locally. We will need each other’s continued compassion and support at this time; please take care of yourselves, your families, and your loved ones. As our community grieves for the loss of dignity and personal/physical safety that comes with these sorts of vile attacks, these events also can galvanize us in our resolve to fight bigotry and hatred wherever and whenever they occur.
Students say the details of the crime are disturbing.
"I think it's like awful to see something like that happen, like regardless of who it happens to, I don't like hate," said Peace Iyiewuare.
"I think it's really scary that like people are willing to, you know, outwardly express their dislike of a certain group," said Isabel Forden.
Chief Torres says the increase in police activity in the victim's neighborhood and around the Oberlin Chabad at the start of the Jewish Sabbath, Friday evening, is not meant to imply that there is a perceived threat to others.
"It's precaution, also to let the citizens know that we are there and we care for them because our business is public safety and we want to maintain that our community is safe," said Torres.
Rabbi Shlomo Elkan of the Oberlin Chabad believes there is cause for concern but not panic.
"We can't ignore it. At the same time, I'm not on high alert; I don't think we need to be looking over our shoulders all the time, and the best defense is to raise our spiritual identity and be Jewish," said Elkan.
"It's very hurtful that this type of crime is taking place in 2016, when you target a person because of their ethnicity, gender, race, sexual preference; that's very serious," said Torres.