Jewish groups decry UVM president’s denial of antisemitism

Twenty Jewish organizations say they are “alarmed, disappointed and troubled by the response” of UVM President Suresh Garimella to allegations of anti-semitism on campus, which they said “further legitimized” antisemitism.

The U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday it is investigating the allegations.

The following letter was published Friday, September 16 by The Conference of Presidents, a central coordinating body for 50 Jewish organizations:

We, the undersigned Jewish organizations, are alarmed, disappointed and troubled by the response issued yesterday by the President of the University of Vermont to the Title VI complaint filed on behalf of a number of UVM students by the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and Jewish on Campus.

Simply put, President Garimella fails to condemn the existence of significant antisemitism on UVM’s campus. And instead of summoning the courage that other university leaders across the country have shown in acknowledging the problem or offering support for Jewish students who are fearful about identifying publicly as Jewish, the UVM President’s statement doubles down and refuses to take responsibility. The statement only offers inadequate excuses while failing to denounce those who have created a climate of intolerance for Jews, especially those who choose to openly express their Jewish identity through their deeply felt ancestral and ethnic connection to Israel. All the more concerning is the inference that aggrieved Jewish students should not have sought recourse through a regular legal process that exists for the very purpose of investigating civil rights complaints, including those pertaining to antisemitism. As a consequence, the concerns of antisemitism are further delegitimized.

The university has denied support to a targeted community, and, in suggesting that Jewish students need to learn how to better protect themselves, has essentially chosen to blame the victims. The students who filed the complaint raised awareness of a form of antisemitism that students at UVM have been experiencing for years, and gave a voice to students who felt unheard. Even now, the UVM President apparently has not really heard their voices of concern and anguish.

We support these Jewish students at UVM and elsewhere who have the right to openly express their identification with Israel without being shunned, marginalized and excluded from campus opportunities. Every student at UVM is entitled to a college experience free from antisemitism and all other forms of discrimination. It is time for UVM to frankly acknowledge the serious concerns that have been raised and take concrete steps to address them.

Alums for Campus Fairness
CAMERA on Campus
Chabad on Campus at the University of Vermont
Club Z
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
Hasbara Fellowships
Hillel International
Israel Peace Initiative
Jewish Federations of North America
Jewish National Fund – USA
Jewish on Campus
The Louis D Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
Simon Wiesenthal Center
StandWithUs & StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department

The Conference of Presidents is the central coordinating body representing 50 national Jewish organizations on issues of national and international concern

Categories: Education

6 replies »

  1. There is so much hate in the world and religion has not helped one bit. The collective human race does not seem to have yet evolved to have the initiative to be better. But as our history shows no one can agree on what is better.

    • It’s not so much “hate” as it is social contagion, fashionability and virtue signaling. For the last few decades at UVM, it has been very fashionable to side with the palestinian cause. This is based on perceived recent victimhood which is the criterion that drives the thinking on the left. Having to hide your overt Jewish identity at UVM puts you in the same class as Christians, conservatives, Trump supporters and anyone else who does not embrace the liberal orthodoxy, as is the case on most college campuses in the USA.

      • Israel has a great deal of work to do. That being said, so much of what I was told simply isn’t true. The enormous numbers of rockets fired into Israel, the nature of the incident at Deir Yasan, the condition of Palestinians within Israel, etc.

  2. Just trying to imagine if black students at UVM had complained of racist behavior towards them; would UVM have just dismissed their concerns and insisted there wasn’t a problem on campus? Somehow I doubt it.

  3. Whether as a Jew, or simply as a person concerned at any bigotry, it is a rising concern of mine and countless other “old radicals” that such is permitted, even encouraged.
    Concerning Israel, unless governments are criticized democracy will fail. I continue to criticize Israeli policy. However, after 40 years, I found evidence that the issues of the rights of Palestinians have been distorted in the media. Former assumptions of mine and others were based on “facts” which are simply NOT TRUE.

    • @phantom

      Not exactly sure what you are saying? Are you trying to say that the leftist MSM has created falsehoods regarding Israel and it’s supposed wrongs for many years? That so much of the supposed “facts” aren’t at all true? That the Palestinians and their supporters have been running one heck of a PR campaign against Israel and that sadly it’s been very effective in demonizing Israel? I hope that’s what you’re saying and that you’re becoming aware of actual reality as it exists there.

      That said, there is zero justification for allowing antisemitism to fester in a public university. And those that insist that it’s ok to discriminate against Jews because they don’t like the Israeli government are just engaging in plain old antisemitism as has been the case for thousands of years. Their beef with the Israeli government and support of Palestinians is just the latest twist in a very old practice.

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