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During Chanukah, Institutions of Higher Education Across the United States Launch Pledge to Root Out Antisemitism In All Its Forms on Campus
Ohio Governor Sends Letter to Campuses Requesting Direct Action
One in Every Three Jewish Students on a College Campus Experienced Antisemitism in the Past Year
In light of a troubling rise in antisemitism across the country, college and university administrations--including the University of Texas system (TX), Pace University (NY), and the University of Northern Colorado (CO)-- are launching a powerful statement of support for their campuses’ Jewish students and communities. As part of this effort, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine took the unprecedented step of requesting all university and college leadership in Ohio work with local public safety and law enforcement entities to ensure Chanukah celebrations proceed safely; find opportunities to speak out against antisemitism in all its modern day forms; and reach out directly to campus Jewish communities to create a safe, secure environment for students, faculty, and staff. Governor DeWine’s letter can be found here.
The nationwide Statement of Support, available here, explicitly commits to working with campus Jewish communities to root out antisemitism in all its forms, so that students can have a safe educational experience where hatred of Jews is not tolerated in “polite” conversation, nor in more dangerous and insidious ways. The statement continues to receive signatories; students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to share it with institutional leadership and request their school sign on.
This effort is spearheaded by Shine A Light, a national campaign of Jewish and non-Jewish organizations that seeks to spotlight antisemitism as it exists today in American culture and society, and empower Americans with the tools and awareness they need to take steps to respond. Interested colleges and universities can email [email protected] with questions or to join the pledge.
“No student should be afraid on a college or university campus--especially because of their race or religion. Sadly, for too many of our Jewish students today, this is not the case,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Cases of antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments have been reported on our campuses here in Ohio and nationally. We cannot stand by and accept these alarming trends. Together, we must strive to create a culture on our campuses that does not tolerate antisemitic or anti-Israel sentiments or any other type of discrimination.”
“We are deeply concerned about the rise of antisemitism in the United States, particularly on college campuses and universities,” said William Daroff, Chief Executive Officer at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. “We applaud the university administrators who are leading the way with a sign-on statement of support for the Jewish community on their campuses and against the pernicious threat of antisemitism. All students should feel safe and free from antisemitic harassment. As an Ohio native, I applaud Governor DeWine’s leadership on making Ohio students feel safe on campus.”
“Governor DeWine is right. We can’t stand by. Chanukah is a time to remember that standing up for what’s right is critical. Jew-hatred must be stopped. And we’re grateful to modern day Maccabees like Mike DeWine for stepping up, speaking out, and demanding action on our campuses and in our communities,” said J. David Heller, Board Chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
One in every three Jewish students on a college campus experienced antisemitism in the past year, and nearly 2 out of 3 openly Jewish students felt unsafe on campus this semester. In 2020, according to the FBI, 55% of all religiously-motivated hate crimes were against Jews, who make up just 2% of the U.S. population. One in every four American Jews has been targeted by antisemitism over the past year, and nearly four in ten report changing their behavior for fear of being identified as Jewish, or for their safety or comfort as Jews.
Shine A Light is a comprehensive initiative to spotlight the dangers of antisemitism through education, community partnerships, workplace engagement, and community advocacy. Fueled by an unprecedented coalition of over 60 North American Jewish and non-Jewish organizations from across the United States and Canada, Shine A Light draws from the inspiration of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, to encourage Jews and allies to speak up and take action against antisemitism.
Visit www.ShineALightOn.com for a full slate of events, resources, and tools.
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For all media inquiries, contact Kate Blumm, 646-320-7347 or [email protected].
The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern
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