U of M president responds to anti-Semitic incidents on campus

- The University of Minnesota is investigating an anti-Semitic flier that was found on campus on Friday in a series of anti-Semitic incidents that have plagued the university over the past two months.

The flier was taken down and reported to the U of M Police Department.

Last week, an 18-year-old student was arrested for allegedly vandalizing a desk with a swastika in a public area of one of the university’s residence halls. Earlier this month, in a separate incident, a Jewish student reported finding a swastika drawn on the white board inside his dorm room.

Since December, there have been at least seven reports of anti-Semitic drawings or graffiti reported on the university’s campus

In a letter sent to the campus community on Sunday, U of M President Eric Kaler condemned the “abhorrent and alarming acts,” saying they are “inconsistent with the university’s fundamental values.”

“They have an especially terrible impact on members of our Jewish community, but all members of our university community must feel this injury and stand in solidarity against hate and bigotry,” Kaler said.
The U of M is investigating the incidents and Kaler says they will hold the perpetrators accountable.

“We are committed to working closely with all on campus, including the leadership of Minnesota Hillel and Chabad, to determine how best to address these anti-Semitic incidents and move forward, always together, as a unified University of Minnesota community standing against hate,” Kaler said.

Anyone with information regarding the flier or any other anti-Semitic incidents is asked to call UMPD at 612-624-3550.

Letter from U of M President Eric Kaler

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

We are profoundly disturbed by a series of ugly and frightening anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred over the past two months. Some of these incidents have been publicized, but there have also been other less visible, but equally painful, incidents threatening members of our Jewish community. Friday on our campus, a vile anti-Semitic flier was found posted. 

We are a campus community that is grounded in respect and enriched by diversity. These abhorrent and alarming acts are inconsistent with the University's fundamental values. They have an especially terrible impact on members of our Jewish community, but all members of our University community must feel this injury and stand in solidarity against hate and bigotry.

These incidents are not isolated. There has been an upsurge in bias crimes locally and nationwide targeting not only the Jewish community, but also other religious, racial, immigrant, and GLBTQ groups and individuals. We must unite against this hatred.

We will investigate these incidents and hold perpetrators accountable, as we did last week in arresting an individual for carving a swastika in a public place in one of our residence halls. The flier found Friday was taken down and reported to the University of Minnesota Police Department (UMPD), which is investigating. If you have any information concerning the flier, please report it to UMPD at 612-624-3550. 

We encourage anyone in need of assistance related to this or other painful bias events to contact counseling services.

Each of us has a responsibility to speak out against hatred, report threatening behavior to police or the Bias Response and Referral Network and help create a campus climate that is welcoming to everyone.

We are committed to working closely with all on campus, including the leadership of Minnesota Hillel and Chabad, to determine how best to address these anti-Semitic incidents and move forward, always together, as a unified University of Minnesota community standing against hate.

Sincerely,

Eric W. Kaler, President
Karen Hanson, Executive Vice President and Provost
Katrice Albert, Vice President, Equity and Diversity


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