Queen’s Zoom lecture hacked with violent images including swastikas

Queen’s Hillel calls for “thorough investigation” into disturbing Zoom hack

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This story was updated with new information on Feb. 3 at 1:30 p.m.

Queen’s Hillel, the Jewish cultural club on campus, acknowledged a violent incident that occurred at a public event hosted by the School of Religion in a statement Tuesday night. 

“It has come to our attention that a short time ago, a Zoom lecture was hacked by an anonymous source who displayed a number of disturbing images, including swastikas,” Queen’s Hillel wrote.

The event was a guest lecture by Dr. Kathryn Lofton of Yale University, called “The Present Life of Blasphemy: Kanye West in American Popular Culture,” that happened yesterday afternoon over Zoom.

While the event was advertised to the Queen’s community, particularly students in the course Religion & Popular Culture, it wasn’t an official Queen’s course lecture.

“We are supporting several Jewish students who were in attendance, and will be communicating with our partners in the university administration to ensure a thorough investigation is undertaken,” Queen’s Hillel wrote.

The University didn’t respond to a request for comment at the time of publication. The Journal has also reached out to the School of Religion for comment.

Queen’s Hillel also said it stands in solidarity with students from other marginalized communities who were also impacted by the “horrific imagery and messaging.”
 
The AMS acknowledged the incident in an Instagram story Wednesday morning. 
 
“The AMS thanks Queen’s Hillel for bringing this situation forward and will engage in conversations with the university administration regarding the incident,” the Society wrote. “A thorough investigation must take place.”
 
The School of Religion told The Journal it’s in the process of following up on yesterday’s incident.
 
“There’s an investigation taking place by [Queen’s IT Services] so we’ll know more exactly about that when the results of those are in,” Dr. Adnan A. Husain, director of the School of Religion told The Journal. “I’ve also been in contact with the Human Rights Office to inform them about this incident and some of the content of the hack and disruption.”
 
Husain said he also reported the incident to Campus Security and the Kingston Police, in case “there’s any relevant need for investigation or action” after the internal ITS investigation.
 
“We’ve already had a response to students in RELS163, but a general response from the School of Religion acknowledging this incident will certainly take place.”
 
He said the response will be posted later today. 

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