Torah destroyed in act of ‘anti-Semitic violence’ at GW fraternity

George Washington University’s Alpha-Pi chapter of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity said Sunday that their house was broken into and Jewish texts were vandalized.

The D.C. university’s chapter leadership confirmed in a statement that the house was “broken into, vandalized, and Jewish texts were desecrated.”

“Our entire chapter is outraged and saddened by this blatant act of antisemitism and violence against our brothers,” the fraternity said.

Photos also circulated on social media as decried the incident. The photos showed hot sauce strewed across walls and a Torah ripped and covered in a blue liquid identified as detergent.

Chris Osborne, president of the Alpha-Pi chapter, said the administration has been helpful, stating that the organization is working closely with campus police and administrators are doing.

“It was the Halloween weekend, and we were out,” Osborne told WTOP. “When we all got back at about 2 a.m., that’s when we realized that the break in occurred.”

He said no one was inside of the house, and added that when they returned, hot sauce was on cabinets and walls. Osborne added that several items were scattered after the break in, but that there were no suspects they were aware of.

Cissy Petty, Ph.D., the vice president for student affairs at the university, responded to the “horrific” incident and said campus police would be investigating this incident.

“I know this has frightened and hurt many in our community,” Petty said in a statement. “I am angry and saddened by this disgusting, self-centered act.”

Some students responded negatively to the language used in her statement, arguing that these acts were not self-centered, but hateful. In response to those comments, she agreed the incident was “an act of hate.”

University president Thomas LeBlanc put out a statement late on Sunday that also condemned the act, promoting the safety of student and community members while working with D.C. and campus police officers.

“I want to be clear: I condemn all such acts of antisemitism and all forms of hatred, discrimination, and bias in our community,” LeBlanc said. “Any act of antisemitism is an attack on the entire GW community and cannot, and will not, be tolerated.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) also voiced concern over the attack on the fraternity. 

“We call on law enforcement and the GWU administration to swiftly identify and apprehend those responsible for this horrific act of antisemitism,” AJC said.

This is a developing story.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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