Campus Monitor - George Washington University

Student Voices

  • December 7, 2016 – George Washington University Jewish Student (Noa) “Passing by Kogan Plaza during the anti-Trump rally held November 15th, I was struck for the first time with the feeling that I may not be safe at GW. At a rally supposedly about love for one another, I was shocked to hear anti-Semitic rhetoric, hate, and demonization coming from my peers.” Read more
  • November 29, 2016 – George Washington University Jewish Student (Sara) “The flag is a symbol of an organization that can promote values that make other groups of students, especially Jewish students, feel unsafe and unwelcome. For many Israel advocates, the flag is representative of an active and mobilized group against their homeland and their values. Students shouldn’t have introduced this controversial symbol in a place where students were meant to feel safe.” Read more
  • March 2015, Jewish George Washington University Student (Rachel) Following three swastikas drawn on residence halls, the University is criticized for it’s response to Jewish concerns. According to the GW Hatchet, “Rachel Schwartzman, a resident in the hall, said the University was “not treating the students as adults” or responding to their concerns quickly. Schwartzman, who is a member of the historically Jewish sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi, which has members housed on a floor in the building, said officials did not formally acknowledge the vandalism until a meeting with residents on Wednesday – four days after the initial report. That, she said, made her and other residents feel like the incident was being “swept under the rug.” Students had to ask their parents to call the University Police Department because reports about the anti-Semitic symbols were not initially taken seriously, she said.” Read more
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    Antisemitism Tracker

    Total Antisemitic Activity:

    To see more information on how AMCHA determines antisemitic activity, click HERE.
    To report a concern, click HERE.


    Classification Date-Description
    TARGETING JEWISH STUDENTS AND STAFF: GENOCIDAL EXPRESSION;
    INTIMIDATION;
    HISTORICAL
    2/21/15 – Three swastikas were found drawn inside a campus dormitory where numerous sororities and fraternities are housed.
    ANTISEMITIC EXPRESSION: DEMONIZATION 4/13/17 – SJP held the event “Tel Aviv Night Clubs & West Bank Check Points// Sa’ed Atshan” to discuss, “pinkwashing,” i.e malevolently representing Israel as a safe haven for LGBQT people in order to hide Israel’s “crimes.”
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    3/29/17 – SJP staged a “die-in” on campus as part of their “Divest This Time” campaign, advertised as “GW failed South Africa. Don’t Fail Palestine.” Their promotion of the event called on the George Washington University “to divest from these corporations to end our complicity in this horrific violence, which the university failed to do during apartheid in South Africa.” One of the “dead” had a sign that said, “I could not visit my family in Jerusalem because of the apartheid wall created with cement produced by Cemex.”
    DEMONIZATION 3/27/17 – SJP, the GW Black Student Union, and the GW Feminist Student Union held the event, “GWU SJP Palestine Awareness Week Keynote – Angela Davis.” During her talk, entitled “Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Why Movements for Social Justice Should Support Palestine,” Davis demonized Israel, stating, “We say no to Israel’s ethnic cleansing strategies…the racism of the state of Israel…This is supposed to be the dismantling of the era of Israeli occupation of Palestine…if we call the U.S. a prison nation Palestine under Israeli occupation is certainly the worst possible example of a carceral society. Palestine is the largest open air prison.”
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    3/10/17 – According to an article in the school paper, SJP sent a letter to President Knapp that included a list of 13 companies, including Hewlett-Packard, General Electric and Boeing, that SJP claims are “complicit in and profiting from apartheid policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.” The letter asked President Knapp to respond by March 22 to confirm that the University invests in any of the named companies. SJP also circulated a petition for students to sign in support of divestment.
    DEMONIZATION;
    DELEGITIMIZATION
    2/21/17 – SJP held the event “Palestine 101 Part 4: Checkpoints and the Apartheid Wall” to learn about “the Israeli apartheid wall and racist checkpoints manned by the IDF.”
    DEMONIZATION;
    DELEGITIMIZATION;
    BDS ACTIVITY (CALLS FOR BDS)
    11/15/16 – Students protested President-elect Trump on campus and delivered a list of demands to administrators. The demands included the demonizing false accusation that Israel is perpetrating a genocide of Palestinians, stating that GWU must “increase the acceptance of Palestinian international students in order to protect its Palestinian students from the escalating [Israeli] state-sanctioned genocide” as well as the delegitimizing false accusation of apartheid in a BDS call, demanding that “the University must divest from unethical corporations that profit from human rights abuses against people of color…[including] colonialism and apartheid in Palestine.”
    HISTORICAL 3/1/16 – A series of leaked Pi Kappa Phi chapter emails revealed many containing antisemitic statements calling members “Jewish” or “Jews” for not participating in philanthropy events. In March of this year, an email was sent that read, “Guys stop being so Jewish and donate some pennies for f*&^s sake.”
    BDS ACTIVITY: BDS VOTE 5/1/17 – A divestment resolution was discussed and voted on. The resolution failed 15-14-1.
    CALLS FOR BDS 4/26/17 – The group “Divest this Time GW” submitted a resolution to the student government that asks the school’s Board of Trustees to divest from corporations that do business with Israel. The companies include Boeing, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, and Lockheed Martin.
    BDS EVENT 3/28/17 – SJP held the event “Why Divest?” to discuss the launch of their new “Divest This Time” campaign.
    BDS EVENT 10/3/16 – SJP held the event, “SJP General Body Meeting: BDS” to discuss, according to the advertisement for the event, “the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) Movement and how you can do your part to advocate for Palestinian rights through non-violent resistance.”
    BDS EVENT 2/25/16 – SJP held the event, “Free Hummus Night and Teach-In about Sabra” where participants learned about boycotting Sabra Hummus as part of the boycott campaign launched.
    CALL FOR BOYCOTT 2/17/16 – SJP launched a campaign to boycott Sabra Hummus on campus.

     

    In the News ?

    May 15, 2017:
    The GW Hatchet – Divestment referendum would marginalize part of the student body

    May 5, 2017:
    GW The Rival – The SA Senate voted against call to divest SR-S17-14

    May 3, 2017:
    JWeekly – S.F. State’s Jewish problem: faculty and local leaders decry worsening climate

    May 2, 2017:
    The GW Hatchet – SA Senate rejects pro-Palestinian divestment resolution that stirred campus-wide debate

    May 1, 2017:
    The GW Hatchet – Amid controversy, SA Senate considers pro-Palestinian divestment resolution

    April 30, 2017:
    George Washington – Submission from director of communication for GW for Israel

    April 26, 2017:
    Campus Reform – ‘Palestine Awareness Week’ leads to BDS proposal at GW

    April 26, 2017:
    The Daily Caller – Students Demand Divestment From ‘Problematic Companies’ That Trade With Israel

    April 6, 2017:
    The Hatchet – Students call for divestment from companies that support Palestinian occupation

    March 31, 2017:
    Campus Reform – Angela Davis attacks Israel, prisons in speech at GW

    December 7, 2016:
    In Focus – SJP and Anti-Semitism at George Washington University

    November 30, 2016:
    The GW Hatchet – Palestinian flag had no place at student walk-out
    (Description note, “The flag is a symbol of an organization that can promote values that make other groups of students, especially Jewish students, feel unsafe and unwelcome. For many Israel advocates, the flag is representative of an active and mobilized group against their homeland and their values. Students shouldn’t have introduced this controversial symbol in a place where students were meant to feel safe.”)

    November 22, 2016:
    The College Fix – GWU students: Campus police protection an ‘act of violence’ — because cops support Trump
    (Description note, “Additional demands include: GWU must ‘increase the acceptance of Palestinian international students to prevent their genocide at the hands of Israel’…Divestment from ‘unethical corporations’ that deal with fossil fuels, private prisons, ‘colonialism and apartheid in Palestine.’”)

    November 22, 2016:
    The Washington Times – George Washington University students demand creation of ‘sanctuary campus’
    (Description note, “The Nov. 15 demand letter, which coincided with a student walk out on the same day, also says the university cannot harbor “structural Islamophobia” and must “increase the acceptance of Palestinian international students to prevent their genocide at the hands of Israel.”)

    November 15, 2016:
    Issuu – Demands for Our Campus by Concerned Students

    September 26, 2016:
    The GW Hatchet – Leaked Pi Kappa Phi chapter emails detail potential violations
    (Description note, A series of leaked Pi Kappa Phi chapter emails revealed many containing antisemitic statements calling members “Jewish” or “Jews” for not participating in philanthropy events. In March of this year, an email was sent that read, “Guys stop being so Jewish and donate some pennies for f*&^s sake.”)

    May 28, 2015: The American Bazaar – George Washington University rescinds suspension of Jewish student who displayed the Hindu swastika symbol

    May 28, 2015: The Times of Israel – University cancels suspension over swastika (Description note, “George Washington University canceled the suspension of a student who displayed a swastika on the bulletin board of a campus dormitory. The student, a member of the predominantly Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau, said he had hung the swastika in order to educate his fellow students about the symbol’s meaning of auspiciousness and good fortune, which he learned about during a trip to India. The Metropolitan Police Department and University Police Department launched and later closed a hate crimes investigation into the incident, which occurred on March 16. The suspension was recently overturned after Hindu, interfaith, and Jewish groups wrote to University President Steven Knapp, to educate him about the significance of the swastika for Hindus.”)

    April 27, 2015: The GW Hatchet – National Hindu Organization Criticizes Knapp’s Response to Swastika Postings

    April 27, 2015: Inside Higher Ed – Swastikas, Hate and Confusion (Description note, “Some Jewish organizations have criticized some colleges and universities for not responding strongly enough (in the view of these groups) to swastika vandalism. Nineteen organizations wrote to GW President Stephen Knapp, saying he had not done enough, in March, after the first round of swastikas on campus this year.”)

    April 5, 2015: The Jerusalem Post – George Washington campus response to false claims against Israel

    March 31, 2015: The Jewish Daily Forward – George Washington Students Want Security Boost After Swastika Incident

    March 31, 2015: The GW Hatchet – SA passes resolution for more security cameras following swastika incidents (Description note, “In the aftermath of swastikas found in a residence hall, the student senate at George Washington University asked the university to install more security cameras in dorms. The Student Association Senate passed a resolution Monday calling for the extra security measures in public spaces, such as near elevators and in residence hall lobbies, the student newspaper The Hatchet reported Tuesday. The proposal came in response to the posting of swastikas twice in three weeks at the university’s International House, which houses members of nine fraternities and sororities.”)

    March 21, 2015: RESPONSE FROM PRESIDENT KNAPP TO 19 GROUPS THANKING HIM FOR HIS ACTIONS AGAINST ANTISEMITISM

    March 18, 2015: The Algemeiner – Swastika Found at George Washington University for Second Time in Recent Weeks

    March 18, 2015: The Washington Post – Another swastika at GW. This one was posted by a Jewish student. (Description note, “A letter to Steven Knapp read, in part: ‘…we believe it is imperative for you to take the following steps… Publicly acknowledge that a swastika is an antisemitic symbol associated with genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people.’ The letter asked for a public affirmation that the university would investigate this and all similar incidents as hate crimes… It was signed by AMCHA Initiative… Knapp told the campus community Monday that the incident from February would also be referred to D.C. police’s hate crimes unit. His statement went on to say: ‘…Our entire community should be aware of the swastika’s association with genocide perpetrated against the Jewish people and should be concerned about the extremely harmful effects that displaying this symbol has on individuals and on the climate of our entire university community. The university will embark on a program of education to ensure that all members of our community understand the damage that symbols of hatred do to us all.’”)

    March 17, 2015: DC Inno – GW Fraternity Member Says He Posted Swastika in Campus Dorm

    thumbs-up March 16, 2015: GW Today – Message From George Washington University President Steven Knapp (Description note, “All of us were shocked several weeks ago by the discovery of swastikas in International House… In light of that event, we were dismayed to discover this morning a new posting of a swastika, once again in International House, on the bulletin board of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity…A member of Zeta Beta Tau has now admitted posting the swastika, which he says he acquired while traveling in India over Spring Break. While the student claims his act was not an expression of hatred, the university is referring the matter to the MPD for review by its Hate Crimes Unit… A member of Zeta Beta Tau has now admitted posting the swastika, which he says he acquired while traveling in India over Spring Break. While the student claims his act was not an expression of hatred, the university is referring the matter to the MPD for review by its Hate Crimes Unit.”)

    March 12, 2015: The Indianapolis Star – Kenneth Marcus: Bigotry common on college campuses

    March 11, 2015: Thank You to GWU President Steven Knapp

    March 6, 2015: Second Response from GWU President Steven Knapp Regarding University Response to Swastikas

    March 6, 2015: 19 Groups Respond to GWU President Steven Knapp’s Letter Reply Regarding University Response to Swastikas

    March 5, 2015: Knapp responds to concerned Jewish advocacy groups (Description note: “The AMCHA Initiative, the Jewish student advocacy group backed by another nearly 20 supporting organizations, responded to Knapp on Friday at about noon.”)

    March 4, 2015: GWU President Steven Knapp Responds to 19 Groups Regarding University Response to Swastikas

    March 4, 2015: 19 Groups Write to GWU President Steven Knapp Regarding University Response to Swastikas

    March 4, 2015: The GW Hatchet – National organizations rally against GW’s response to swastika drawings

    March 4, 2015: EVENT – Miko Peled: Palestine Beyond Zionism – Hope for Peace and Co-Existence

    March 2, 2015: The GW Hatchet – As GW investigates swastika vandalism, student leaders scrutinize response (Description note: “Rachel Schwartzman, a resident in the hall, said the University was “not treating the students as adults” or responding to their concerns quickly. Schwartzman, who is a member of the historically Jewish sorority Alpha Epsilon Phi, which has members housed on a floor in the building, said officials did not formally acknowledge the vandalism until a meeting with residents on Wednesday – four days after the initial report.That, she said, made her and other residents feel like the incident was being “swept under the rug.” Students had to ask their parents to call the University Police Department because reports about the anti-Semitic symbols were not initially taken seriously, she said.”)

    February 26, 2015: The Washington Post – Swastikas and other vandalism at a GW dorm worry students (Description note: “Three swastikas were drawn inside a George Washington University dorm housing a number of sororities and fraternities.”)

    February 26, 2015: The GW Hatchet – Swastikas reportedly drawn in International House

    November 12, 2014: new voices – Is there an Open AEPi in the Works?

    November 3, 2014: The Times of Israel – If Not You, Then Who?: An Open Letter to the Pro-Israel Campus Community

    May 18, 2014: ISRAEL EVENT DISRUPTED BY SJP – Description note: SJP planned and disrupted an off-campus Jewish event. Quote from article, “Students for Justice in Palestine and Students Against Israeli Apartheid from Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, (DMV-SJP & SAIA; George Washington SJP, American University SJP, George Mason SAIA and Georgetown SJP, University of Maryland SJP) decided to crash a pro-Israel street festival.”

    November 3, 2014: Commentary Magazine – A Smoke Screen for Palestine-Pushers (Description note: “Nathan Brown, a political scientist at George Washington University and current president of the Middle East Studies Associations (MESA)… recently issued a letter to MESA’s members effectively imploring them not to drag the organization into a BDS debate.”)

    December 25, 2013: The GW Hatchet – GW rejects academic boycott of Israel

     

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    BDS Tracker

    May 1, 2017 Student Government – FAILED – A divestment resolution was discussed and voted on. The resolution failed 15-14-1.
     


    BDS Instigators: Student & Faculty


    STUDENT BDS

    Student Group(s) Promoting BDS: 1

    SJP

     

    FACULTY BDS

    Number of Faculty Endorsing the Academic Boycott of Israel: 9

    1. Mona Atia
    2. Erin D. Chapman
    3. Ilana Feldman
    4. Dina Rizk Khoury
    5. Andrew Zimmerman
    6. Barbara Miller
    7. Shira Robinson
    8. Robert Shepherd
    9. Ayanna Thompson

     


    Each of the faculty above has signed one or more petitions for the Academic Boycott of Israel.