IU Employee Turns Himself In After Anti-Semitic Vandalism
Mark Zacharias Accused Of Institutional Criminal Mischief
Last Updated: 888 days ago
An Indiana University employee accused in at least one incident in a rash of anti-Semitic vandalism on and around campus turned himself in Friday morning, police said.Mark Zacharias, 54, of Ellettsville, was originally expected to surrender to police Wednesday on a charge of felony institutional criminal mischief, a Class D felony, but surrendered Friday at 11:30 a.m., 6News' Dan Spehler reported.Zacharias, the scholarship coordinator of IU's Hutton Honors College Scholarship, bonded out of the Monroe County Jail a short time later.Police said Zacharias used a rock to break the glass of an information board in the lobby of Goodbody Hall, which houses the school's Jewish studies program, on Nov. 30.Less than an hour earlier, a rock had been thrown through an upstairs window of the Chabad House at 518 E. 7th St., a Jewish student center, police said, while the home and the Hillel House, another Jewish student center near campus, were both hit with rocks four days earlier.The Wells Library also reported vandalism to a number of Hebrew-related books that had been removed from shelves and taken to restrooms on several different floors.Police have not connected Zacharias to the additional acts of vandalism.The incidents happened days before Hanukkah, leading Jewish leaders to believe someone was intentionally targeting them because of their faith."It's very disturbing," said Rabbi Yehoshua Chincholker. "Only a person that's really disturbed can think this way, and not only think, but act upon those thoughts."Hutton Honors College Dean Matthew Auer said Zacharias has worked as a scholarship coordinator at the school since 2003 but was suspended with pay Dec. 9.Zacharias wrote editorials in local newspapers in recent years. Five years ago, one letter caused controversy on campus when he suggested that a fire at an Islamic center was an "inside job."Earlier this year, another editorial in the Bloomington paper discussed relations between Israel and Palestinians."Mark Zacharias' behavior is clearly at odds with the model of civility and humanity that we promote at Indiana University," said Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, chairwoman of the IU Diversity Committee. "I am appalled by his lack of sensitivity toward people who are different."Some students said they're concerned his views could have meant for his work within the honors college."Maybe (he could have been) a little discriminatory toward Jewish kids who want to come to the university," one student said."I give presentations in the admissions office and we always talk about how diverse campus is and how we have all religious, political affiliations," said Sylvia Yang. "But I guess, unfortunately, things like this do exist."