In 1974, I was a freshman in college at the University of Florida. During that first year, I went to a lecture with my Jewish sorority sisters and friends, featuring Moshe Dayan, the Israeli military leader and politician. I vividly remember the peaceful, albeit intrusive, protest by the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) that took place in response to Mr. Dayan’s visit. While their protest did not diminish the visit, it left a mark on the day.
It seems as if not much has changed on campuses. College campuses are supposed to be a vital space for students to broaden their horizons and use their critical thinking skills. It is when many students encounter people of different religions, cultures, and ethnicities for the first time. Often times, students begin to recognize that not everyone experiences the world in the same way. It is up to the administration, faculty, and staff to guide students through this period of transition.
To address this issue, Ohio Jewish Communities (OJC) and Jewish Federations throughout the state requested that Governor DeWine lead the effort to make college campuses safe. The governor sent a letter to college and university presidents urging them to find opportunities to speak out against antisemitism and reach out directly to Jewish campus organizations in order to create a safe, secure environment for students, faculty, and staff. Governor DeWine’s letter can be found here.
Our Senior Director of the Jewish Communities Relations Council, Dr. Marcy L. Paul and I will continue to work with our local college and university faculty, staff, and students in an effort to create a safe space for all on campus.
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