We are aware of a lawsuit filed by several past and present students, and community members, against SF State University. It is San Francisco Hillel's policy not to comment on pending litigation, particularly when such litigation involves past or present members of the SFSU Jewish community. SF Hillel has previously made its positions publicly known here.
Dear President Wong,
I am writing in regards to the anti-Semitic placards that appeared on campus several weeks ago. I received a response from the deputy police chief about them, but have heard nothing from your office. On two different occasions, when Islamophobic posters appeared on campus, you sent out campus-wide emails denouncing the posters as "vandalizing our campus" an "attack" on our "our whole campus community" and "vandalism" by "an outside extremist group."
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Traditionalist Worker Party as an extremist organization that "blames Jews for many of the world’s problems" and espouses white supremacist views. In fact, the ADL has advised [information redacted for safety reasons].
We appreciate the letter you sent out recently to five Jewish students, acknowledging institutional anti-Semitism at SF State and clarifying your earlier comments about zionists being welcome at SF State. But we also seek actions that demonstrate equal treatment as all other groups on campus. We demand that you denounce in a campus-wide email these anti-semitic placards in the same way that you denounced the Islamophobic ones that appeared on campus, and acknowledge publicly the important things you have just stated privately.
San Francisco Hillel student president
President Wong sent the following letter to the Jewish students who emailed him earlier this month following a meeting between them.
As many of you know, a group of your peers has taken charge in confronting the challenges our Jewish student communities at SF State face. We’ve heard many of you express concern around these issues. They’ve affected us personally. While not everyone is able or willing to be vocal in advocating for the changes we want, we wish to keep you all informed of our actions and the response (or rather, lack of response) from our campus administration.
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 5 student leaders met with President Wong concerning the letter they sent to him on April 3rd.
Dear Pres. Wong:
Thank you for taking nearly two hours of your time to meet with Jewish and Hillel students today. We appreciated the friendly tone of the meeting and your willingness to hear our concerns.
We agree there were a number of potential positive outcomes from the meeting, but we wish to reiterate the concerns we expressed in the meeting. You asked us to support several efforts and programs that the University is trying to advance. We wish to support the University, but we need to see the University take real steps in the following areas first:
We want to share our thoughts about the news article recently published about the climate for Jewish students on SF State's campus.
On Wednesday, April 12th, 2017, 5 students from SF Hillel replied to President Wong's response to their earlier letter of concern regarding the campus climate at SF State. Their letter, and President first response are included.
Dear President Wong:
Thank you for your response of April 5. However, you responded to only some of our concerns, and we are collectively shocked by the implication at the end of your reply - that institutionalized anti-Semitism is not an issue for the President of a public university, especially one that that celebrates its diversity. If you recall, two years ago, Hillel supported the University when an outside entity alleged that SF State was one of America’s most anti-semitic campuses. We did not agree with the motivations or strategies of that list, but today we can no longer defend the University in good faith from charges of anti-Semitism.
I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to travel to New York for my final spring break as an undergraduate student. Our Alternative Break experience not only gave me a better understanding of the fantastic volunteer work that happens in New York City, but also how I can help change the world.
Before this Alternative Break trip, I was honestly pretty nervous. I didn’t know many of the SF Hillel people in our group, I was traveling alone, and I didn’t know what to expect. I ended the trip not only with experience working in the community, but with great new friends. I gained a new sense of self on this trip and learned to love people even more.
When signing up to go on Alternative Break with SF Hillel, I wasn’t quite sure what I was signing my self up for. All I knew it was a social justice trip. I had been inspired to join after speaking with Emily, our Hillel staff member, about how angry I was with the lack of equity in today’s society. Emily and I shared this conversation just days after the presidential election occurred, so emotions were running high. Emily recognized my anger, and challenged me to think about what I was or could be doing in my community to help change the status quo, because sitting with anger wouldn't help anyone or anything. When my mind drew a blank, Emily suggested that I participate in Alternative Break.