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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Antisemitic symbol carved at tailgate

A+swastika+was+carved+into+Sigma+Alpha+Mus+bar+during+the+Texas+A%26amp%3BM-Nicholls+State+game.%26%23160%3B+A+police+report+was+filed+but+the+two+parties+resolved+the+issue+without+pressing+charges.%26%23160%3B
Photo by Photo by Spencer Russo

A swastika was carved into Sigma Alpha Mu’s bar during the Texas A&M-Nicholls State game.  A police report was filed but the two parties resolved the issue without pressing charges. 

On Sept. 9, around 7:45 p.m. during halftime of the Texas A&M-Nicholls State football game, a now former member of the Pi Kappa Alpha, or Pike, fraternity carved a swastika into the wooden bar of the historically Jewish fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu, commonly referred to as Sammy.
The Sammy chapter filed a police report with the University Police Department, according to UPD public information officer lieutenant Bobby Richardson. The report said Sammy members had left their tailgate to go to the game then returned at halftime to discover the swastika.
“We responded to the fraternity house to take the report,” Richardson said. “From that point, the two parties got involved and worked it out. They didn’t want to press charges, so we did not investigate any further.”
Because Sammy did not elect to press charges, the UPD investigation was closed and they can not verify who the perpetrator was.
“[Sammy] said they knew who did it and he was in another fraternity, we tried to contact [the perpetrator] but did not make contact,” Richardson said. “When we turned it over to our CID (Criminal Investigation Department) is when the party said they weren’t going to press charges.”
Edan Coben, electrical engineering junior and Sammy president, said the decision to not press charges came from the damage to the bar being minimal.
“We were asked how much damage was done, and a can of spray paint costs around five dollars,” Coben said. “So we didn’t want to press criminal charges for something we can cover up with some spray paint.”
Coben reported the incident to Sigma Alpha Mu nationals, who he said handled the case from there.
“The party cooperated so we let our nationals handle it,” Coben said. “I did my duty as president by informing nationals about the event.”
Coben said he contacted the Pike chapter regarding the incident, who then began to look into the situation themselves.
Nicholas Stefani, industrial distribution senior and Pike president, confirmed the perpetrator was at the time a member of the fraternity, but he quickly had his membership terminated after the event.
“He was removed within the week,” Stefani said. “We heard about it Monday morning. We had a pretty good idea of who it was. We approached him, he owned up to it and said he was willing to take whatever punishment.”
Stefani said the fraternity did two days of follow-up investigation, then sent him to the chapter’s judicial board.
“He was recommended for expulsion from the chapter by our judicial board, which was the Wednesday night following that Saturday,” Stefani said. “The chapter voted unanimously on Sunday to remove him from the chapter. Paperwork has been filed with nationals, so pretty much all ties are severed.”
Stefani added that the member in question has gone through a university judicial process as well, but is unsure of the outcome.
The process for finding out which member of the chapter carved the swastika into the bar was straight forward, according to Stefani.
“It was more of just a hunch, and then we acted on the hunch,” Stefani said. “It was pretty obvious who it was, there didn’t need to be a whole lot of physical evidence … it was a pretty concise judicial process. The involved party took 100 percent ownership of it. It was chalked up to a very drunken mistake.”
Stefani said that he does not believe there was any malice behind the action. He said he stands by his chapter’s actions in removing the aforementioned member, and that the chapter did their utmost when dealing with the situation.
“We did everything that we could have done to resolve the situation appropriately and quickly,” Stefani said. “I’m proud of the actions the chapter took. I’m not proud of what he did. I think our response was 100 percent what it should have been.”
Stefani also provided The Battalion with the following statement via email:
“We do not tolerate any kind of hatred through any media within our chapter, and this individual’s actions are not at all representative of the values and character of our chapter as a whole. That being said, we recognize that there is always room for improvement and have taken steps to further educate our members using resources from the University, the Anti-Defamation League, and member facilitated presentations on bystander intervention. We have always been on good terms with the other chapter, and since the incident have been working closely with them to reach a resolution and move forward together from this unfortunate incident.”
Rabbi Dan Aronson of Texas A&M Hillel said he approved of how the situation was handled.
“I was very happy with how the university took care of it,” Aronson said.“This seemed to be an isolated incident. I was aware of the story, the university was handling it very well. The town of College Station was handling it well, even the anti-defamation league was informed.”
Michael King, agricultural economics senior and Texas A&M Interfraternity Council president, said the matter has been taken care of.
“From what I am aware of through my conversations with Edan Coden, Sammy president, I am, my board and all relevant parties are under the impression that this matter has been resolved,” King said.
The Battalion was unable to reach Sigma Alpha Mu’s nationals for comment.

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