UD undergrad charged with hate crime in antisemitic vandalism of Holocaust display

The latest alleged incident would be at least the third act of antisemitism on the University of Delaware's campus in the past four years.

University of Delaware's campus (U Del.)

University of Delaware's campus (U Del.)

A University of Delaware student has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly damaging a Holocaust display and going on what witnesses say was an antisemitic tirade.

The Delaware Department of Justice said Jenna Kandeel, 23, vandalized 10 Holocaust memorial flags Wednesday that the student group UD Hillel put on display for Holocaust Remembrance Week. Witnesses told police Kandeel spit on the flags and made disparaging remarks about Jewish people.

Kandeel, an undergraduate who has since been barred from campus, is charged with three misdemeanors, including the hate crime. She is also charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

Donna Schwartz, executive director of UD Hillel, said the student’s actions disturbed the organization.

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“The intentional destruction of a display that commemorates the Holocaust and honors the memories of the 11 million people who were murdered is unacceptable,” Schwartz said in an emailed statement. “There is no room at the University of Delaware for this kind of targeted hatred.

The arrest warrant stated Kandeel admitted to the vandalism, saying, “she was frustrated and triggered by the Holocaust memorial flag display and had intentionally damaged the flags out of frustration.”

UD President Dennis Assanis, along with members of his leadership team, sent a message to the campus community after the incident, saying acts of discrimination, racism, violence or destructive behavior will be addressed immediately.

“Such abhorrent incidents have no place on our campus,” Assanis said. “As Blue Hens, we must support one another and draw strength from our shared culture of respect, civil discourse and sense of belonging.”

The latest alleged incident would be at least the third case of antisemitism on UD’s campus in the past four years. Last May, a swastika was drawn on the door of a Jewish  professor’s door. In 2020, UD’s Jewish student center was heavily damaged by arson. The Chabad Center has been engaged in a building campaign and broke ground on a new facility in 2022.

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