On Saturday, October 14th, I was registered to run in a 5k.
I had been training for a few weeks and I was excited to run it with my partner.
As the date approached, and my anticipation increased, the sky changed colors. It was an alarming orange and there were bits of ash falling from above.
The race was cancelled. That was what the fires in Northern California meant to me; they were an inconvenience.
We are so excited to introduce our first alumni spotlight! Each individual in our community has a unique story, and that certainly doesn’t end past their time in college. Ongoing connection matters to us, which is why this will be the first of many stories. We hope you enjoy, and Happy New Year!
Mira graduated from SF State in 2015. Originally from LA, Mira couldn’t wait to live in San Francisco and explore the city. She was nervous about entering a new world - mostly using public transportation for the first time - but more than anything she was excited to make new friends, grow as a person, and welcome new experiences.
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.