AMCHA’S Responses to Antisemitic Activity at Stanford University
1. Swastikas are found on campus
- INCIDENT: The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house was spray-painted with swastikas on Saturday night, April 25th-26th. President Hennessy issued a statement the next day in which he affirmed that the university “will not tolerate hate crimes” and that the incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university under Stanford’s Acts of Intolerance Protocol. President Hennessy’s statement did not mention antisemitism or that a swastika, while affecting the whole community, particularly targets Jews for discrimination.
- 4/28/15 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative coordinated a coalition letter of 26 groups to President Hennessy stating, “We commend you for issuing a statement the next day in which you affirmed that the university “will not tolerate hate crimes” and that the incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university under Stanford’s Acts of Intolerance Protocol. However, we strongly encourage you to publicly acknowledge that a swastika is an antisemitic symbol associated with genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people, and that although it affects the entire campus community, it particularly targets Stanford’s Jewish members for hatred and discrimination.” The letter asked that President Hennessy, “Swiftly, forcefully and publicly acknowledge that swastika graffiti is an act of antisemitism and will not be tolerated on campus; Publicly commit to educating University staff, including campus police, in identifying antisemitism and antisemitic hate crimes; Formally adopt the U.S. State Department’s definition of antisemitism to fully and accurately identify all future acts of hate toward Jews; Allocate resources and publicly commit to educating students about antisemitism and anti-Jewish discrimination.”
- 5/8/15 – UNIVERSITY’S RESPONSE: President Hennessy responds with an email stating, “I share your concern and have spoken out against such hate crimes and against anti-Semitism. As I stated, I am deeply troubled by the act of vandalism, including symbols of hate, that has marred our campus. The university will not tolerate hate crimes and this incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university under our Acts of Intolerance Protocol. This level of incivility has no place at Stanford. I ask everyone in the university community to stand together against intolerance and hate, and to affirm our commitment to a campus community where discourse is civil, where we value differences, and where every individual is respected. We are eager to find ways to move forward constructively and will respond to this serious issue further.”