Unfortunately, there have been more anti-Semitic incidents on campus.
According to a memo from Chancellor Robert Jones, a swastika was found in the Foreign Languages Building. The University is investigating this.
In addition, concerns were raised about a recent presentation with anti-Semitic content at a staff development program by a Housing student-worker. The presentation caused division, distrust and anger.
According to Chancellor Jones, the University takes full responsibility and is taking immediate action to ensure that, going forward, their programs and initiatives position U of I students for success.
In addition, Chancellor Jones stated:
"I want to state publicly and unequivocally that acts and expressions of anti-Semitism are acts and expressions of hatred and discrimination that are in direct opposition to our core values. Bias and prejudice are antithetical to the educational foundations of our university and hurtful to our entire community. The idea that any individual feels threatened for expression of personal religious or ethnic identity is unacceptable. We will always recognize the rights of those on the campus to safely and freely express their perspectives and opinions. But we will also be ready to condemn statements and actions that violate our shared values and seek to demean, intimidate or devalue others in our community. . .
I want to assure all of our students, staff, faculty and community that we are fully conscious of the seriousness of incidents of anti-Semitism, racism, bias and prejudice on this university. We will continue to track, investigate and address incidents swiftly. . .
The work of creating an inclusive environment is everyone’s responsibility. I am committed to continuing to work with faculty, students and staff to create a positive climate."
We thank the University and Chancellor Jones for making very clear their position on these hateful actions and rhetoric on campus. CUJF offers its full support to them and the entire community.
As many of you know, I am a child of Holocaust survivors. It is both disheartening and alarming to see this rise of anti-antisemitism and hate and violence toward those whose color, ethnic background, religious or political beliefs are not like ours.
When something like this happens, I ask, "What can I do?"
One way to counter act this is to behave with chesed (loving kindness) toward others, and speak out against hateful actions and rhetoric. Set the example you wish to see.
Another positive action is to support CUJF.
CUJF has been providing education about the Holocaust, genocide and bigotry throughout the Champaign-Urbana region for more than 25 years. We bring speakers into classrooms, provide classroom sets of books to schools, facilitate teacher training, send educators to conferences at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Washington, and much, much more.
But obviously, even more is needed. The best way we can counter this is with more resources, more training, more education, more outreach.
We can do this with your financial support. Let’s come together as a community and fight ignorance-fueled hate with the amazing power of education.
Please go to www.cujf.org and make a donation today.
Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation