COLUMN: In wake of Auschwitz anniversary, spread love not hate

Let’s talk about the hate graffiti found on campus last week. It’s not going to be an easy conversation, and I wish it wasn’t one we have to have in the first place. But it is necessary, nonetheless. 

The first thing I want to say is, from the bottom of my heart, I am so sorry. I feel ashamed. This is not what my beloved university stands for. I hope to goodness that this was some sick, disgusting, ill-conceived joke and not the work of anything more. Because I would hate to think what this means if it’s not a prank gone wrong. Though my gut tells me it may not be.

Whoever did this, I hope you’re feeling ashamed. I hope your cheeks are burning red with embarrassment and you feel deep regret in your heart, no matter how small. I want you to read my words about your harmful words. 

What kind of message are you trying to spread? This past Monday marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Anti-Semitism is hatred, and I will not stand for it. And to add MAGA to your vandalism… but it is not for me to draw connections and wonder why. I’m going to stop focusing on trying to figure out why you did what you did. It is a waste of my time. The deed is done, and your ignorance is clear as day. 

We are on a college campus. We are—supposed to be, anyway— educated adults. We are no longer children. It’s time to act like it. 

Marshall University is a tolerant place. Sure, not everyone here may agree on everything from time to time, but we do not hate one another, nor do we advocate for violence of any kind. Though I must confess, the mix of emotions I felt when I discovered this heinous act filled me with a type of rage. 

To everyone personally affected by this incident, please know the person(s) who perpetrated this act do not and will never represent the views of this university and everyone here. If you need a safe place, a friend or even a stranger to seek a shoulder to cry on, please look no further than me or anyone on my Parthenon staff. 

Marshall has a history of coming together and standing up for its own, and from the ashes we will always rise; let this be no different. Those who did this know they’re never going to change that. 

I am tired. I have said all I have to say, and I fear if I tried to say more I could not handle it. Please, let’s just love one another. 

Writing this has reminded me of something I heard recently that brought me some joy. So, even though it doesn’t necessarily pertain to this topic, I will end this with a quote from actor Brad Pitt, which he gave during an acceptance speech at this year’s Golden Globes awards: “If you see a chance to be kind to someone tomorrow, take it. I think we need it.”

Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected]