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A man was allegedly spotted exercising at the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) with a tattoo of Adolf Hitler on his upper back on Nov. 5.
Rob*, a Queen’s student exercising at the ARC at the time, told The Journal he witnessed the incident. It follows graffiti of a swastika being discovered on a fridge in the Albert St. Residence building in early October.
“I was on the first floor [working out] on the machines, I saw a middle-aged man working out on the machine in front of me. He had a scary looking tattoo on his back and shoulder area,” Rob said.
Rob said the man was wearing a very revealing tank top, clearly flashing this tattoo.
“As I started to get closer to the man to get a better look, he realized I was looking at his tattoo and stared at me,” Rob added.
Rob realized the tattoo was a shirtless Adolf Hitler, wearing a hat with the Reichsadler symbol which Hitler wore during WWII. The Reichsadler symbol represents an “imperial” eagle with the Nazi swastika below, enclosed in a circle.
“I texted my friends, who were working out on another floor, and they came with me to confront him,” Rob added.
Rob said, after he asked the man what the tattoo was, the man admitted it was Hitler.
Rob said the man was not hostile towards the group of students when confronted, but he believes this does not excuse the offensive and hateful imagery.
“We told him we found it very offensive,” he said.
Rob said, after the encounter, he and his friends went to the ARC front desk to report the incident.
He said the front desk staff asked for a description of the man, wrote an incident report, thanked Rob and his friends for reporting the incident, asked if they felt unsafe, and took down Rob’s email.
“They did not seem to care too much,” Rob said.” “It felt as if the incident was tolerated.”
“As a Jewish student who works out a lot, it made me feel incredibly unsafe and scared. I wish the ARC would do more to combat this. They need to, in order to make Jewish students feel safe on campus.”
Rob said the staff said they would receive a follow-up email soon. At the time of publication, neither Rob nor his friends have received a follow-up from the ARC.
*Name changed for safety reason
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