‘I don’t think emails are enough’: Students denounce acts of campus antisemitism


Hailey Valdivia

Tali Rosenberg outside the Riverfront Center on Wednesday, Oct.19, 2022. Rosenberg said she was hurt but not surprised about the incidents on campus.

Hailey Valdivia

In the midst of antisemitic graffiti plaguing Sacramento State’s campus, students say they are concerned about campus safety, calling for more awareness and campus unity going forward. 

Since the start of the fall 2022 semester, there have been four reported incidents of antisemitic graffiti on and nearby campus.

Shruiti Nand, a first year business major, said she is worried about further escalation of these incidents. She said she found out about the incidents through campus emails. 

“It made me feel like I was in an unsafe environment,” Nand said.

Shruiti Nand studying at The Union on Tuesday, Oct.18, 2022. Nand said the incidents have made her feel unsafe on campus. (Hailey Valdivia)

Dating back to late August, two swastikas were found; one in a classroom in Mendocino Hall and the second on J Street.

On Sept. 29, another swastika was reported in the Arboretum on the north side of campus with the phrase “white pride nationwide.” 

The State Hornet later discovered more graffiti on the tunnel ceiling near the Arboretum that said “Nazi shit.” 

Following these incidents, Sacramento State sent out campus-wide emails informing students.

“There is a reason why they let us know through the emails,” Nand said.  

Hera Nawabi, a third-year business and marketing major, said the news shocked and disgusted her, adding that antisemitism on campus is something everyone should feel strongly about. 

“I think it’s extremely important that we stand up for [Jewish students] and spread more awareness,” Nawabi said. “Not only to them–but to all the other cultures and religions that are being affected by this.”

Tali Rosenberg, a first-year marketing major, identifies as Jewish and said she was not surprised about the incidents. 

“It definitely hurts to see that this is still going on,” Rosenberg said. “I see this news all the time. It’s not that surprising, but it still sucks to see.”

Rosenberg said emails are not enough to address the rise in antisemitism on campus. She said had doubts about engagement in the university’s upcoming town hall– while hoping for its success.

“I think the town hall is good; maybe there could be more communication in person– just some way to get more people informed,” Rosenberg said. “I don’t think emails are enough. I don’t see a lot of people showing up to that meeting.”

While antisemitic graffiti has struck Sac State,  incidents of antisemitism are bigger than the university, Rosenberg said. 

“What I’ve seen is only Jewish people are posting about this,” she said. “I’m worried; maybe it’s because it just comes up so often that people are like ‘just another day, ya know,’ and they don’t care to speak on it.”

Some students expressed concern about current antisemitic incidents, others said they were entirely unaware of any incidents on campus this semester. Joslyn Jaramillo, a second-year health science major, is one of those students.

Joslyn Jaramillo outside Mariposa Hall on Tuesday, Oct.18, 2022. Jaramillo said she was disappointed at the incidents of antisemitism, especially from a diverse campus like Sacramento State. (Hailey Valdivia)

“It’s kind of disappointing to hear this, especially with a campus that’s so diverse,” Jaramillo said. 

Nicole Dressel, a transfer student and education major,  said even though she received emails, she hasn’t heard anything else from her peers or the university.

Dressel said the incident in the Arboretum, where a swastika was reported alongside the words “white pride nationwide,” was the most concerning. 

“I was concerned that somebody felt comfortable enough making a statement that large and that public in a public space,” Dressel said. 

She said while she believes President Nelsen is responsive about campus matters, the university’s responses seem “very short lived.” 

Abby Martinez, a third-year student, said news of these events scared her because Sac State is open to the public and “anyone can step foot on campus.”

“Students shouldn’t feel like they have a target on their backs,” Martinez said “[Sac State] should be more on top of stuff. Anybody can come on campus, technically, but they should do a better job raising awareness.”

Abby Martinez studying outside the library on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022. Martinez is a third-year criminal justice major at Sac State and was unaware of the white supremacist graffiti until being informed. (Hailey Valdivia)

Students like Nawabi called for unity in the face of the hatred, saying students from all backgrounds should stand by their Jewish peers. 

“The University and students both need to stand up for other people that are within the [Jewish] community and other communities and make sure that we’re a team. That we all come as one.”