A Response to the Latest Antisemitic Violence

Jan. 3, 2020

Dear Brandeis Community,

The recent rash of violence directed at members of the Jewish community in New York and New Jersey reminds us of the ugly scourge of antisemitism. At the same time, it has been heartening to see the breadth and diversity of support coming from across the country, rejecting in the strongest terms such prejudice and hatred.

Brandeis was founded by the American Jewish community in response to bigotry against Jews and other ostracized groups; the pronounced resurgence of antisemitism we see today is concerning, troubling, and painful to the Brandeis community as well as an affront to the values at the core of our institution. Brandeis will continue our part in countering the hatred that comes from ignorance by pursuing the truth through learning, being an open and inclusive community, and preparing our students to fight prejudice in all of its forms.

In our continuing efforts to improve community safety, we are increasing the number of our university police officers, with a search for a night lieutenant and an additional daytime public safety officer underway. We are also making a substantial investment in upgrading camera technology and cellular coverage throughout campus. We have significantly expanded campus transportation services and recently installed anti-intruder locks in our classrooms. And we remain in regular contact with local, state, and federal authorities about possible threats to campus and Greater Boston. Our Public Safety website includes information and resources related to safety and crime prevention.

Antisemitism and related acts of hate can also affect a person’s mental health whether from experiencing it directly, knowing someone who has been the target of such hate, or feeling the effects it has on one’s community. There are a number of resources at Brandeis that can provide support during this period, including the Brandeis Counseling Center, Brandeis Hillel, and the Center for Spiritual Life. Brandeis employees can seek assistance from the Employee Assistance Program. Faculty, staff, and students can also visit the Support at Brandeis website to review the comprehensive list of services available to everyone.

As we prepare to return to campus, we can look forward to coming together as an inclusive and welcoming community that learns together and is committed to upholding the principles upon which the university was founded. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office.