Thousands show support at university after leaflets with swastikas appear

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Virginia Tech is still uneasy after more than 100 leaflets with hand-drawn swastikas were left on the lawn of the Jewish Student Center.

Thousands came out to show support against this.

"We have to send a message that we all stand together and we're not going to let this happen again," said Rabbi Zvi Zwiebel, the Chabad Librescu Jewish Center co-director. "We have to all show, bond together and show, this is Virginia Tech, it's not going to happen here."

University President Tim Sands noted in his speech how much stronger a sign of togetherness is.

"The perpetrators of this action hoped to divide us, but they've only succeeded in uniting us," Sands said. "This is what's great about Virginia Tech."

Jewish students in attendance explained the symbol of a swastika is a frustrating and hurtful thing to see.

"As ignorance grows these days, they don't understand what that sign truly means," said Benjamin Roston, a freshman at Virginia Tech. "Not only is it a sign of hate against the Jewish people and everything that we've worked toward, but it's also a sign against spreading the truth. It's complete ignorant trash."

University Police Chief Kevin Foust echoed those words when he said his department and Blacksburg PD are continuing to investigate who did this.

"This is community," Foust said. "When you dump your ignorant trash on a lawn up the street, you're dumping it on my lawn and your lawn."

But the thousands in attendance were not just Jewish members of Virginia Tech.

"We come together as people of faith and it's important for us, I think especially as Christians, to show small acts with great love," Newman Community Director Chris Hitzelberger said

"It says a lot about Blacksburg as a community and just the world in general that there are still plenty of good people who are willing to support everyone no matter what your race or religion," said Jillian Wise, a Virginia Tech sophomore.

And it's important to the school not to forget this feeling moving forward.

Virgina Tech Jewish Student Union President Andrew Peck said, "I really hope that we take this passion and determination that I'm seeing right here and use it for our fight to make us move forward and to make us feel stronger."