Man Wearing Swastika on UF Campus
Jewish students, and the University of Florida, are speaking out, after a man wearing a swastika was seen on UF campus.
AviChaim Snyder, a Jewish student at UF, was one of the first to see the man wearing the symbol. Snyder says, "My roommates and I were eating lunch in plaza, and all of a sudden, we saw a guy riding a bike with a swastika on his arm."
Synder says the man was cursing and yelling anti-semitic slurs at Jewish students as he passed by, a situation Snyder says is all too common. "Last year on campus here I was just walking through campus I was wearing a shirt similar to this one. And I was called a dirty jew and a zionist pig just by walking through by a group of guys."
Rabbi Berl Goldman, a leader in the local Jewish community, says this behavior leads to more violence and fear. "As a Rabbi and a parent of children, as a rabbi in a director of a large Jewish student center with the uncertainties around the world, how could you not be concerned."
Local police departments say that although the speech is offensive, everyone is free to exercise their first amendment right, until it interferes with someone else's rights.
UF released the following statement: "An individual was observed on the University of Florida campus today wearing an armband with a swastika. This type of personal political expression is protected by the First Amendment. However, it is critical to recognize that swastikas are symbols associated with the Holocaust which exterminated six million Jews as well as multitudes of individuals from other persecuted groups on the basis of their race or religion. The University of Florida encourages inclusion and respect, not hate."