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August 29, 2013 - Image 86

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-08-29

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jewish@edu

ior college students by college students

GATEWAY
TRAVEL

A Campus Of Difference

Anti-Defamation League provides tools for students
to defeat bigotry on their campuses.

Leslie Spector

We wish our loyal clients a
Sweet New Year filled with
health, happiness and peace
around the world.

2013 5774

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Farmington Hills

Tel: 248-432-8600

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SECULAR HIGH HOLIDAY ASSEMBLIES

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(Between Northwestern Hwy. and 14 Mile Rd.)

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ROSH HASHANAH

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH AT 10 AM

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13TH AT 8 PM

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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14TH AT 10 AM

As Always No Ticket Required
Membership inquiries welcome. Call Institute Office (248) 423-4406

1855320

86

August 29 • 2013

e're looking for the Jews!
We're looking for the Jews!"
six boys using German
accents shouted down the hallway of a
dorm at Western Michigan University on
the anniversary of Kristallnacht, a pogrom
against Jews throughout Nazi Germany
and parts of Austria that occurred on Nov.
9-10, 1938.
The only Jew in the dorm happened
to live on the floor where this incident
took place. And, someone had thrown a
snowball directly at his room, shattering
the window.
WMU administrators sat down with
the Hillel organization on campus to
figure out how to address this issue.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was
contacted, informed and came to lead a
diversity training program — its national
A Campus of Difference program — for
the residents of that particular dorm and
the six young men involved.
"Differences at college become dif-
ferent types of
differences," said
Heidi Budaj, direc-
tor, ADL-Michigan
Region. "Some
people at these
universities have
never seen a Jew
Heidi Budaj
before. Through
our training, we
give these students
and residence life staff tools to help stu-
dents integrate.
"Jews are often approached by some-
one who has never seen a Jew before and
asked 'Where are your horns?' Our train-
ing provides answers for these innocent
questions. We have the tools to say there
are a lot of misconceptions about Jewish
people. A Campus of Difference arms par-
ticipants with the ability to educate and
not to just argue and walk away."
A Campus of Difference helps college
administrators, faculty members and
students examine stereotypes, expand
cultural awareness, explore the value of
diversity and combat racism, anti-Semi-
tism and all forms of bigotry.
"This program arms people with dip-
lomatic tools and ways to present infor-
mation that is not
negatively confron-
tational, but that
can diffuse negative
arguments," said
Harry Weaver III,
ADL's local project
director. "A Campus
of Difference allows
individuals who
have been trained
to effectively combat anti-Semitic opin-

W

Rochelle Lieberman and the staff of Gateway Travel

1N Intern

ions as well as the defamation of Jewish
people, with facts.
"Although the program is in the pro-
cess of being revamped, the goals and
purposes remain the same. We want to
help college students, and people at
large, who run into these issues in their
communities."
Currently, WMU is the only active
school in Michigan at the collegiate level
that has gone through training with A
Campus of Difference. Ideally, ADL's goal
is to be at every college in Michigan. This
is a program that will enhance student
life at any college, regardless if there
have been incidents of hate crimes or not.
The program is designed by human
relations specialists with professional
experience on college and university cam-
puses. It is comprised of on-site work-
shops (full-day, half-day or multi-day) on
anti-bias education and diversity aware-
ness. A Campus of Difference is designed
to prepare students, often from homog-
enous schools and communities, for liv-
ing together with those of the opposite
gender, race, ethnicity, religion and sexual
orientation.
"Right now, the program focuses on
anti-Semitism because we found that on
a college campus, the anti-Semitic voices,
in some cases, are much stronger than
the voice that combats that," Weaver
said. "We will teach these students how
to handle being harassed because of the
fact that they are Jewish.
"These tools we provide give students
the language to stand up for themselves.
When someone is surrounded by oth-
ers and an anti-Semitic joke is told, they
will know how to handle the situation
because of our training. In shorter terms,
our training tells you what to say and
how to say it. Our hope is that students
will do this with any racial or ethnic
joke," he added.

The Facts

In 2011, 85 percent of hate crimes
nationwide involving religion were anti-
Semitic, according to the most recent FBI
Hate Crime Statistics report. Hate crimes
tend to be the highest priority of the
Bureau's civil rights program because of
the "heinous nature and their impact on
victims and communities."
In 2012, ADL's annual Audit of Anti-
Semitic Incidents shows that the total
number of anti-Semitic incidents in the
U.S. decreased by 14 percent. The report
also looks at criminal and non-criminal
incidents reported to ADL in 35 states
and Washington, D.C. According to the
report, there were 927 anti-Semitic
incidents across the U.S. Among these
incidents, 17 were physical assaults, 470

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