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.
The attachment referred to in the letter is here.
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.
For over a year, a coalition (comprising the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Community Federation, Jewish Studies professors, and Hillel staff and student leaders) has met with the SF State administration, offering suggestions and making requests that would create positive change in the campus environment.
Unfortunately, things have moved in the wrong direction, as related in that news article, and an op-ed by two long-time Jewish Studies professors at SF State.
Our role at SF Hillel is to support our students and ensure an inclusive and positive campus environment for them. We offer a vision in this piece for how SF State can bring about the needed change to make that a reality.
We know that many students and community members will want to act. As our students know, they can help bring about change by becoming a student leader, joining our coalition building, Israel advocacy, and campus dialogue groups, or reaching out by replying to this email or clicking here to take more direct action. They can also report inappropriate incidents that happen on campus here.
Community members can feel free to reach out directly by replying to this email for more information.
We just finished a beautiful Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration on the quad this week, held an inclusive and touching Passover seder for 90 students last month, and in two weeks will bid farewell to our graduating seniors at the Final Shabbat of the semester. We will keep supporting, enriching and empowering students - the recently reported challenges demonstrate that our work is more important than ever.