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February 12, 1993 - Image 62

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-02-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Facing The Challenges, Rewards Of College Life

.

Continued from Page L-1

At Farrakhan appearances at
Michigan State, Jews were called
racist by Farrakhan supporters, for
objecting to the anti-Semitism. Jewish
students had to threaten the adminis-
tration with a lawsuit for violating
University policy before the adminis-
tration acknowledged culpability in
remaining silent in the face of Farrak-
han's anti-Semitism.
While perhaps not the most dis-
tressing, property damage is identi-
fied by Jewish students as another
issue of concern for them: vandalism
of Hillels, "Jewish" fraternities and
sororities, dormitory rooms, etc., are
reported across the country.
In a 1992 conference of Jewish
college students, panelists reported
the following issues of paramount
concern: vandalism and graffiti; intim-
idation and harassment; organized
bigotry; universities being used as
platforms for extremist speakers
(most frequently cited are Prof.
Leonard Jeffries, Louis Farrakhan,
Steve Cokeley, Prof. Griff, Kwame
Ture); "JAP" baiting; anti-Israel activi-
ties; incidental one-on-one anti-
Semitism; exclusion; (MSU's "people
of color and culture caucus" changed
its name to "people of color caucus"
primarily to exclude Jews who claim-
ed that they, too, were a discriminat-
ed minority); and with accepted ad-
ministrative policies (registration or
first day of classes on High Holy
Days); and the emergence of Holo-
caust denial strategies.
Some conference participants indi-
cated they felt their physical security
to be in jeopardy. While a position not
affirmed by the majority of conference
participants, it is noteworthy to in-
clude and monitor these sentiments
in this discussion.
Jewish students also report feeling
excluded from some of the religious
activities which crept into official
school activities that appeared to
have the sanction of the college or
university, such as Fundamentalist
Christian student groups sponsoring
prayer at half-time at an athletic
event. Occasionally professors are
insensitive or downright hostile to
Jews or Jewish practices, or to the
Jewish community, or to Jewish sup-

THE JEWISH NEWS

27676 Franklin Road
Southfield, Michigan 48034
February 12, 1993
Associate Publisher: Arthur M. Horwitz

Adviser: Harlene W. Appelman

port of Israel. (One University of
Michigan professor referred to the
"Judaizing of Nazism" when talking
about Israel.)
One must realize that the range of
unpleasant experiences addressed to
Jews or Jewish concerns is quite
broad. While all of these issues are
not universally felt, regularly experi-
enced, or comprise the entire range
of experiences available to Jews, the
listing is to alert you to a growing rise
in campus anti-Semitism.
Jews are often quite active con-
fronting these issues, based on col-
lective decisions about which are
important. When Holocaust
Revisionists offered ads to student
newspapers, many papers refused
the ad. Where it was printed, the
Jewish students received outpourings
of support from the non-Jewish corn-
munity. At the University of Michigan
several years ago, outraged Jewish
students protested the Michigan
Daily's distorted Israel-bashing, and
ultimately were successful in getting
the editors ousted when they ran for
reelection.
In Adrian, Fellowship of Christian
Christian Athletes united with Jews to
protest a PLO speaker. Elsewhere,
Jewish programs and concerns are
active parts of campus life. Indeed,
the anti-Semitic activities described
by students represent acts committed
by only a small fraction of the campus

Correction

The Chanukah puzzle contained in
the December 11, 1992, L'Chayim
section was created by Flo Ziffer. We
apologize for the omission.

population. Most students seem to be
neither supportive of the extremist
behaviors the Jewish students de-
scribed or are passive because of
their apathy.
Nonetheless, negative experi-
ences confronting Jewish college stu-
dents are on the increase. This mir-
rors a national trend. In the recently
released FBI report on hate-crimes in
the U.S. for 1991, nearly 17 percent
of ALL hate crimes in the country tar-
geted Jews. African-Americans were
targets of about 35 percent of the
hate crimes.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect
of anti-Semitism on college campus-
es is that it exacts a "tax" on Jews:
it's harder to be Jewish than not to be
Jewish. The consequence is that it
makes assimilation more attractive
for Jews and causes some Jewish
students to withdraw from the Jewish
community. It is consequence of

experiencing anti-Semitism that every
Jewish young person must examine.
The old maxim that "it's not easy
being Jewish" was never more true
than it is today on the college cam-
pus.
As we see an increase of bigotry
aimed at Jews on the campus, even
as we see a (slight) decline of such
incidents in the community at large,
the need for commitment, prepara-
tion, and resolve in college students
is greater than ever. Thus affiliation
with some Jewish group on campus:
Hillel, Jewish Students Organization;
interest groups, Israel oriented
groups, some group, is crucial not
only for support and to combat isola-
tion, but to offer that same support to
others who feel threatened.

Mr. Lobenthal is regional director
of the Anti-Defamation League of
B'nai B'rith.

Program For College-Bound

ADL has recently initiated a train-
ing program geared for high school
seniors. To be conducted in the
spring, this program will address the
issues brought to us by college stu-
dents. Featuring techniques, analy-
sis, and resources, it is predicated
on several critical assumption: (1)
that the issues CAN be positively
responded to, (2) that these nega-
tive incidents represent a small frac-
tion of the sentiment on the campus
and the rest of the campus popula-

tion can be appealed to successful-
ly; (3) that there are myriad
resources available to Jewish stu-
dents, (4) that the college experi-
ence, however intruded upon by
anti-Semitism, is still one to antici-
pate, and (5) that corrective mecha-
nisms are present within every col-
lege campus. Look for the
announcement on the Pre College
Preparation Program in The Jewish
News in the spring, if you'd like to
attend.

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