Austin Police Department responds to criminal mischief call at Texas Hillel

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A UTPD vehicle keeps watch at the east side of campus on Jan. 21, 2020. 

Photo Credit: Eddie Gaspar

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include a statement from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

The Austin Police Department responded to a criminal mischief call at Texas Hillel in West Campus early Tuesday morning, an APD officer said.

APD responded to a glass break alarm at 2:06 a.m. at Texas Hillel, a UT Jewish student organization, APD senior police officer Kevin Krzan said. No one was in the building at the time, Texas Hillel Executive Director Maiya Chard-Yaron said in an email. 

Chard-Yaron said someone threw a rock that shattered a window at Texas Hillel. No one gained access to the building, she said. APD is actively investigating the incident, Krzan said.

“We know this incident comes amid growing safety concerns in the West Campus neighborhood, as well as concerns around increasing anti-Semitic activity nationwide,” Chard-Yaron said in the email. “Actions of this type are unsettling, no matter the motive.”

Chard-Yaron said Texas Hillel is actively working with APD to determine if there was a motive behind the incident.

Chard-Yaron said Texas Hillel is working with the UT Police Department and APD to investigate. UTPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Leonard Moore, vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, said in a statement on Twitter that the incident raises concerns for the safety of Jewish students.

“While considered criminal mischief, the incident comes at a time when anti-Semitic incidents are on the rise,” Moore said. “Freedom of religious expression is one of our fundamental rights and we cannot dismiss any incident which may have religious bias or discrimination as a motive.”