Standing with the Drexel Jewish Community Against Antisemitism
May 27, 2021
Dear Students and Colleagues,
As we hope for a sustained end to the recent conflict in the Middle East, I want you to know that I share the deep concern and distress of the Drexel Jewish community about the antisemitic acts witnessed recently on our campus, as well as those arising anywhere in the wider community. It was in this spirit, as soon as antisemitic graffiti were discovered last week, that I requested our Senior Vice President for Student Success and our Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer reach out to the entire Drexel community with a strong statement decrying the appearance of swastikas in a residence hall.
Both swastika images were removed immediately from Caneris Hall. Drexel Police were alerted, and they are investigating. We have appealed to anyone with information about this and any other incident to contact Drexel Police, the Office of Equality and Diversity (email@example.com) or Drexel’s Residence Life staff.
As always, we stand ready to assist Drexel students in any way possible — and especially those Jewish students who rightly are fearful when instances of antisemitism arise. Our campus is patrolled around the clock and Drexel Police have increased patrols and are on high alert for any threat to centers of Drexel Jewish activity, including the Perelman Center for Jewish Life and the Chabad Serving Drexel University House.
With the appearance of antisemitic imagery on campus and the proliferation of anti-Israel content on social media, I know that some in our Jewish community feel as if they stand alone. To them — and most of all, to our students — I want to say that we stand with you against all forms of antisemitism and hate directed at the Jewish community. However heated the political discourse around the Middle East conflict, it is always wrong to target someone because of their ethnicity. As Rabbi Isabel de Koninck of Hillel at Drexel University told me, “Targeting and attacking Jews for being Jewish isn't activism, it's antisemitism.”
I would appeal, as well, for civility and restraint in how the conflict is addressed in social media, where inflammatory images and messages often proliferate.
And I want to stress, once again, that our collective responsibility as members of the Drexel community — students, faculty, professional staff — is to support one another and work to prevent antisemitism, bias or any act of hate. Having a university community of students, faculty and professional staff of all nationalities, races and religious beliefs is a strength, and we should be able to share and debate differing viewpoints with respect, kindness and compassion.
The safety of all members of the Drexel community is our highest concern, and we will take every step possible to ensure that. My hope, also, is that we can help allay fears in our community by continuing to live out — and insist upon everyone adhering to — our values of caring, acceptance and inclusivity.