A University of Illinois student apologized for damaging a menorah on campus earlier this month.
In a letter sent to the Illinois newspaper The News-Gazette, junior Ruby Rivera said she would like to “deeply apologize” for vandalizing the menorah outside of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life at the university on Feb. 7. The softball player said she takes “full responsibility” for her actions, and that there was “at no point any disrespect or malice meant towards any community or religion.”
Surveillance video outside of the Chabad center shows footage of Rivera breaking a branch off the menorah while a man, who is a gymnast at the school, holds down one of the others. They both laugh as the menorah breaks. According to reports in the Champaign News-Gazette, Rivera was trying to unscrew a light bulb in the menorah and broke it.
Rivera said the vandalism happened “in correlation to a night out and is not meant as an excuse, but more of an explanation of my actions.”
“Once again, I did not intend to make people feel hurt, concerned or nervous for my actions that took place (that) Sunday morning,” she wrote. “With taking responsibility for the incident and my actions, I know that there are consequences that comes along, and I take full acknowledgement and responsibility for them and am willing to pay the cost for the damages that I caused.”
Rivera remains indefinitely suspended from the university’s softball team. She received a notice to appear in court later this month on a preliminary charge of criminal damage to property, according to The News-Gazette. The man who was with Rivera at the time of the vandalism was not charged, but has been suspended from the university’s next two gymnastics competitions. He name was not revealed.
This was the third time the Chabad menorah at the university was damaged in under a year.