UIUC Releases Statement Condemning Anti-Semitism

A photo of Charlottesville protests (photo courtesy of The Museum of Jewish Heritage)

The University of Illinois, in coordination with the Jewish community, announced commitments to address the alarming increase in anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist harassment and discrimination on its campus. Jewish United Fund Chicago, Illini Hillel, Hillel International, Illini Chabad, Arnold & Porter and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law issued the following joint statement:

“We thank UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones for joining with us in issuing this statement today recognizing as ‘unacceptable’ the anti-Semitic harassment Jewish students at UIUC have experienced for years and committing that ‘the university must do more.’ The Chancellor’s validation of these students’ painful experiences is significant. We particularly appreciate the Chancellor’s acknowledgement of certain key points, e.g.:

· ‘For many Jewish students, Zionism is an integral part of their identity and their ethnic and ancestral heritage. These students have the right to openly express identification with Israel. The university will safeguard the abilities of these students, as well as all students, to participate in university-sponsored activities free from discrimination and harassment.’

· ‘We deplore anti-Semitic incidents on campus, including those that demonize or delegitimize Jewish and pro-Israel students or compare them to Nazis. This subjects them to double standards that are not applied to others.’

· ‘All Jewish students, including those who identify with Israel or Jewish campus organizations, should be able to participate in campus activities aimed at fighting racism and achieving social justice.’

· ‘[T]he university is committed to complying with applicable federal, state and local antidiscrimination laws as a state and federally funded institution.’

“This statement and the commitment it demonstrates is important, however, it is only a first step. It pledges the university to adhere to its legal obligations to respond to anti-Semitism as it manifests itself today at the University of Illinois. In particular, the university properly recognizes that ‘anti-Semitic forms of anti-Zionism, and other forms of discrimination have no place at this university.’ The next steps will involve real work, including, among others, focused and regularly recurring educational programming regarding anti-Semitism, review and revision of practices and procedures, and the creation of an Advisory Council on Jewish and Campus Life that will consist of stakeholders who are ‘committed to the principles set forth in this statement.’

“As we noted in our joint statement, ‘our collective and collaborative efforts will not end with these actions.’ We look forward to ongoing collaborative work with the Chancellor and his team to convert the objectives outlined today into action that achieves our shared, common values, including the freedom and security of all University of Illinois students.”

The University’s statement can be found here.

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