Emory University president slams campus protest as antisemitic

The president of Emory University has publicly condemned a campus protest that took place on Oct. 25, saying he was “appalled by the behavior of members of the Emory community.”

According to a letter released by Emory University President Gregory Fenves, the demonstration on Emory’s campus included antisemitic phrases and slogans, though he did not reference the specific language that was used.

“I cannot be more clear – this kind of rhetoric has no place at Emory,” Fenves stated in the letter. “It violates our core values, particularly our commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all who learn, work and live on our campuses.”

According to reporting in the student-run newspaper The Emory Wheel, protesters gathered to condemn Emory University’s financial ties to the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center project and demand that university officials condemn the loss of Palestinian lives in the Israel-Hamas War.

During the protest, the crowd chanted ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,’ a slogan used by Hamas, which the United States and other countries have designated as a terrorist organization, according to reporting from The Emory Wheel.

“Antisemitic slogans degrade the important work and the mutual respect that underpins the Emory community,” Fenves went on to state in his letter.

Although Fenves acknowledged that the protest was protected under the university’s Open Expression policy, he said the protest on Oct. 25 “must be called out for what it is – divisive and reprehensible.”

“Emory has a long and distinguished history of supporting open expression,” he continued. “We welcome peaceful protests. We welcome a vast range of ideas and perspectives. Your words are powerful and I urge you to use them respectively and in a manner that values every person at Emory. This isn’t too much to ask, it’s simply the right thing to do.”

While some social media users responded to Fenves’ letter with praise, others said more should have been done to send the message that antisemitism will not be tolerated in the Emory community.

“The statement from (the) president of Emory is about two paragraphs short; he left out the part about identifying the students and expelling them,” said Twitter user Steven Weiss. “Nice statement, but ultimately, it’s as useless as ‘thoughts and prayers’ unless there are actual consequences for the hate-mongers.”

Earlier in October, members of the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office joined Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett sheriff’s offices to work together to “identify proactive measures to prevent and respond to discrimination and any threats to the safety and security of Jewish and Muslim neighbors” in an effort to stop potential hate crimes.

Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Anti-Defamation League have confirmed an uptick nationally in hate crimes, particularly centered on antisemitism, since 2022, according to officials.

Most recently in DeKalb County, on Oct. 22, Brookhaven police said they were conducting a full investigation into multiple residents finding flyers with antisemitic and hateful messages distributed in their neighborhoods.

For more information, visit emory.edu.

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