NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A hate crime investigation is underway at Columbia University after a professor is targeted for the second time with anti-Semitic slurs.
Dr. Elizabeth Midlarsky has been a professor of psychology at Columbia University’s teachers college for 28 years. On Wednesday afternoon, her office walls were spray painted with symbols of hate.
“I opened my door and in front of me was a big red swastika. I was, to put it mildly, shocked,” Midlarsky told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.
“Then there was one on another wall and the word on the third wall.”
Midlarsky has written extensively about the holocaust throughout her career.
“I’m writing chapters and articles, but not exactly the thing that’d get people incensed,” the professor said.
Sadly, this vandalism does not surprise her.
“Bias is going up, doubling in some places. Especially against Jews,” the professor explained.
While crime is reportedly down citywide, the NYPD says hate crimes have gone up 12 percent compared to this time last year. Anti-Semitic crimes have spiked, going up 29 percent.
“I feel vulnerable for the first time in my life.”
The professor called police, but continued teaching her regular classes for the day. She says the outpouring of support from students helped get her through.
“They said they were with me, they love me, they support me. It’s beautiful, that part of this is beautiful,” Midlarsky added.
The professor says this isn’t the first time her office was targeted. Ten years ago she says anti-Semitic fliers were put in her mailbox.
The teacher’s college president responded in an open letter, saying “we are outraged and horrified by this act of aggression and use of this vile anti-Semitic symbol against a valued member of our community.”