*The following message pertains to an anti-Semitic event that some may find triggering.
This past weekend, the Alpha Epsilon Pi house, a Jewish-student-affiliated organization, was vandalized with anti-Semitic statements and swastikas. This hate crime is a horrific attack on a community that brings such joy to the Cal Poly community. While a recent study found that a third of the general American public does not believe anti-Semitism to be a real problem, it continues to be the most prevalent religious-based hate crime in the United States. The Jewish community is only 2% of the U.S. population, yet they endure approximately 60% of religious-based hate crimes.
Anti-Semitic sentiments often fly under the radar to many non-Jewish individuals, and this incident shows that there must be a deeper commitment from the Cal Poly community to educate ourselves and work to eradicate anti-Semitism. Our community does not tolerate this inhumane behavior and ASI Student Government stands in solidarity with the members of Alpha Epsilon Pi in denouncing anti-Semitism.
The first step to action is education. We call upon our entire Cal Poly community to review the following information, resources, and steps you can take now to support our Jewish community:
- More than half of Americans 18 to 29 years old reported that they did not know the meaning of the word anti-Semitism. First, we must all understand what anti-Semitism is and how it is perpetuated through our society.
- Anti-Semitism is, “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish. It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress or otherwise injure them. It may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews”. In the U.S. Department of State’s definition of anti-Semitism, they note that “Physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities”.Thus, even though no one was physically harmed in the recent event, targeting their property is a hate crime.
- Anti-Semitic sentiments can be easily spread as our society has not taught the need for respecting the experiences of Jewish individuals. A survey done by the American Jewish Committee found that 64% of respondents aged 18 to 29 said it would make no difference whether they viewed a statement/idea as anti-Semitic if a Jewish person told them it was anti-Semitic.
In order to fight anti-Semitism as a community, we must collectively support Jewish individuals and ensure their experiences are heard, validated, and understood as best we can.
Please reflect on how you have educated yourself and listened to the needs of the Jewish community. After reflecting, the following are resources to educate yourself on the experiences of Jewish individuals:
- Chabad of SLO and Cal Poly
- SLO Hillel Organization
- Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Counseling services are available virtually for Cal Poly students 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 805-756-2511. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides confidential counseling services to all Cal Poly employees and their families. Please call their 24-hour support hotline at 800-367-7474.
Though we may be separated physically during these troubling times, remember that we still are one mustang community and every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We all play a part in making Cal Poly a caring, diverse, and inclusive environment.
ASI Student Government