Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway tried to scrub up a PR nightmare for the school this weekend after its chancellor and provost denounced an increase in anti-Semitic assaults, then apologized for failing to “communicate support for our Palestinian community members.”
In an announcement issued Saturday titled “On Hatred and Bigotry,” Holloway mentioned the university “deplores hatred and bigotry in all types. We haven’t, nor would we ever, apologize for standing in opposition to anti-Semitism.
“Neither hatred nor bigotry has a place at Rutgers, nor should they have a place anywhere in the world,” Holloway continued. “At Rutgers we believe that anti-Semitism, anti-Hinduism, Islamophobia and all forms of racism, intolerance and xenophobia are unacceptable wherever and whenever they occur.”
The furor started on Wednesday when Chancellor Christopher Molloy and Provost Francine Conway collectively denounced “the sharp rise in hostile sentiments and anti-Semitic violence in the United States” in an announcement that additionally referenced the homicide of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, assaults focusing on Asian-Americans, and “targeted oppression and other assaults against Hindus and Muslims.”
“This recent resurgence of anti-Semitism demands that we again call out and denounce acts of hate and prejudice against members of the Jewish community and any other targeted and oppressed groups on our campus and in our community,” they mentioned.
On Thursday, after the university’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine issued a prolonged denunciation of Molloy and Conway’s unique assertion, the officers issued a second assertion, titled “An Apology.”
“As we grow in our personal and institutional understanding, we will take the lesson learned here to heart, and pledge our commitment to doing better,” Molloy and Conway wrote. “We will work to regain your trust, and make sure that our communications going forward are much more sensitive and balanced.”
The second assertion was panned by the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter in addition to Jewish and pro-Israel commentators — and even Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)
Both statements from Molloy and Conway had been deleted from the “Communications” part of the chancellor’s web site and changed with Holloway’s Saturday assertion.
On Sunday, Rutgers Hillel issued a statement welcoming Holloway’s message as “an important first step in rebuilding the trust which is essential and desired by all.”
However, the group added that the university “has an established pattern of minimizing antisemitism.”
“The University seems unable to recognize that Jews are a vulnerable minority and that anti-Jewish prejudice is real,” the assertion mentioned.
“This repeated erasure of Jewish concerns and identity is painful and bewildering to every member of the Rutgers Jewish community … Rutgers Hillel calls upon the University administration to acknowledge the pain it has caused the Jewish community, and to sit down with us and together forge a new path towards true diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
In a telephone interview with the Post Sunday evening, Rabbi Yosef Carlebach, the manager director of Rutgers University Chabad House, characterised Rutgers as “a tremendous place for Jewish life” and residential to a “thriving, happy Jewish population.”
Carlebach, who has been a part of the Rutgers neighborhood since 1978, thought university officers had “made a big mistake” with the scope of their statements.
The rabbi mentioned that somewhat than making an attempt to handle current incidents of anti-Semitism on and round campus — together with bodily assaults on individuals who outwardly seem Jewish and the egging of a fraternity home throughout a Holocaust remembrance occasion final month — university officers “tried to enter the domain of woke politics.”
“In trying to be everything to everybody,” Carlebach defined, “they turned out to be nothing.”