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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Par for the course for a US college campus

Moadim l'Simcha - a happy holiday to all of you (and as I  noted on Thursday night, the proper response to that greeting is Chagim u'Zmanim l'Sasson).

Oberlin College in Ohio seems to have a wee little problem with anti-Semitism. So they've done what all good collage campuses do these days: They've blamed the blogosphere.
Subsequent to our post, we were forwarded by someone on campus the following email from the Oberlin Dean of Students last night blaiming “the blogosphere” for pressing for the records.
From: Eric Estes
Date: Wed, Sep 18, 2013 at 6:03 PM
Subject: Important Information from the Dean of Students
To: studentlist@oberlin.edu
Dear Students,
I hope your semester has gotten off to a great start. I want to encourage you to take advantage of all the resources available to support you such as the class deans as well as new and enhanced resources focused on health and wellness (see my start of the year update on the Oncampus page). Please know that the my door and those of my colleagues are always open.
I also want to inform students of another important issue that has developed in the last couple of weeks. The City of Oberlin will soon release materials related to the Oberlin Police Department’s (OPD) investigation of the flood of racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in our community last winter and spring. Fueled by recent stories in the blogosphere, the City of Oberlin has received several requests for their complete records of the incidents, which they are treating as part of the public record. Those records include some Oberlin College Office of Safety and Security (S&S) reports of the incidents including the names of Oberlin students, faculty, and staff who reported those incidents in some cases. Each person likely to be affected has been contacted personally.
This undoubtedly raises some questions. First, we wanted to be sure to communicate with you in advance of the public records release. We want to be transparent. Second, let me assure you that the administration’s sharing of certain relevant S&S reports with the OPD occurred in response to a unique set of circumstances, and was undertaken in good faith to protect the health and safety of students by actively seeking law enforcement investigation and prosecution of suspected criminal behavior. At the time those reports were shared, there was no expectation that their contents would become public. Rather, College administrators were seeking law enforcement’s assistance in halting the bias incidents and holding alleged perpetrators accountable for their actions. Finally, we are working together with The City of Oberlin and the OPD to solve this problem moving forward. We are committed to doing everything possible to prevent this kind of situation from ever happening again.
The kind of flag that you see at the top of this post (the picture was taken at Oberlin) is actually par for the course these days for an American college campus.
On no campus in the United States or elsewhere would the racist posters using the “N” word and so on be acceptable public discourse (even if it is an interesting free speech legal issue).
But what about the anti-Israel poster?
Unfortunately, such discourse on campuses and elsewhere is par for the course in the anti-Israel movement.  The attempt to single out Israel alone for boycott, and the false equation of Israel with Apartheid, facism and Nazism, is part of the dialogue and accepted. 
Oberlin is one of only a handful of higher education campuses where the student government has endorsed the anti-Israel BDS movement and boycott.
 Read the whole thing. And think about whether your child belongs on an average American college campus.

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