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'Cowardly, horrific and unacceptable' | Police investigate antisemitic comments on online Greek forum at IU

The anonymous comments posted on Greek Rank have been taken down at IU's request. Police are working to trace the IP address of the person behind the racist remarks.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana University Police are investigating after a series of extreme antisemitic comments were posted online, targeting Jewish fraternities and students.

The university called the messages "disgusting" and said the person responsible will be held accountable.

For students, it's a shocking and unexpected display of hate.

"I felt disheartened. My stomach was wrenched. It hurt to see those kind of words spoken about my chapter and my fraternity and my people really," said Alpha Epsilon Pi President Tyler Burnett.

The comments were posted on a site called "Greek Rank," an unofficial and anonymous message board that shares gossip about Greek life on campus.

On Sunday, someone shared a series of antisemitic messages, saying about Jewish students "get them off our campus."

"It totally seemed venomous. It was really an attack," Burnett said. "One of the posts said, 'Take them back to gas chambers where they belong. Boycott all the Jewish houses.'"

"Referring to the Holocaust, basically talking about putting us back into gas chambers, get us off campus, really, really horrible, horrific stereotypes," added Rabbi Sue Silberberg, IU Hillel director. "The worst of any stereotypes about Jews just very abhorrent posts."

"That was just absolutely disgusting. I mean I heard about it through word of mouth," said student Lillian Greenlee.

"I'm from Palm Beach, Florida, and honestly I've never experienced antisemitism like that," said Alpha Epsilon Pi member Evan Fredel. "Just reading those words it's like ... just, like a shocker at first. I was really just shocked by the ignorance, honestly."

"I think they were the worst and most antisemitic posts I've ever seen since I've been here and I've been here for 31 years," Silberberg said.

RELATED: Read the full statement from IU Hillel

The posts are being investigated as a crime. 

Campus police are now working to trace the IP address of the person behind the racist remarks.

"I think it was a perfect vehicle for these cowards to speak terrible things without anyone knowing who they are," Burnett said.

IU Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav shared a letter to students Monday, condemning the messages.

His letter called the messages "disgusting" and said, "this attempt to anonymously spread hate is cowardly, horrific and simply unacceptable in the IU community."

RELATED: Read the full letter from the provost

Greek Rank, at the university's request, pulled the antisemitic messages from the site on Monday.

Burnett said campus police have stepped up patrols around Jewish fraternities.

This incident is the latest in a surge of antisemitism at IU.

In the fall, there were a dozen of reports of sacred religious symbols stolen from dormitory doors.

RELATED: IU forms task force to combat rise in antisemitic acts on campus

Nationwide, a study found a third of Jewish students experienced antisemitism on college campuses in the past year.

"Our campus, IU, has been known as one of the safest, most welcoming for Jewish students across the country and so this year, to all of a sudden to be faced with antisemitism, it's just been like this horrible blow we never would have expected," Silberberg said. "It still is a welcoming place, but it's just been scary"

Students of all faiths want the hate to end.

"It's anonymous, so I don't know how they're going to figure it out, but I hope they do" Greenlee said.

"I hope the school gets to the bottom of who this was and kicks them off this campus," Burnett said, "because I think we can all agree that this kind of person who believes these kinds of things does not belong at Indiana University."

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