THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED

THIS WILL NOT BE TOLERATED

Addressing a crowd at the Righteous Among Nations banquet in Washington D.C. on January 27, President Barack Obama said “We must confront the reality that around the world, anti-Semitism is on the rise. We cannot deny it. An attack on any faith is an attack on all of our faiths.”

Obama’s words ring true, particularly among increasingly frequent reports of anti-Semitic acts in Europe, North America, and now, at Grand Valley State University.

After the Division of Inclusion and Equity saw a sharp increase of these religiously-charged incident reports, administrators alerted the GVSU community there was a problem. A problem that would not be allowed on campus.

Some of the reports included writings on walls or doors reading, “I am a Nazi” and “Hitler did nothing wrong.” The fact that someone at GVSU identified as being a Nazi should be incredibly alarming to all Lakers. As immature as these incidents may seem to some, they’re not to be taken lightly.

This university prides itself on being inclusive, and always is making strides to become more diverse. As such, it has done a pretty good job addressing racism and gender-based acts of violence.

Now, it’s time to talk about religious diversity and Christian privilege. No student should feel targeted for their personhood, and Jewish students at GVSU should not have to be nervous about talking about their faith or wearing Star of David necklaces on campus.

This is not funny, this is certainly not something to brush off as “no big deal.” Anti-Semitism is not an issue to take lightly. Ever. Each and every student or staff member on campus should feel comfortable on campus in any setting regarding their religious faith, gender identity or race. Despite living in the Evangelical Christian bubble that is West Michigan, it is imperative that students of all faiths and non-faiths feel equally welcomed and included on campus, and the very base level of this inclusion is not being fearful of being the victim of acts of hatred.

A college campus is a lot of things. It’s a place where people come to hone in on their passions, a place where people come to make friends and gain experience in their field and, most importantly, a place to build a community that is striving for diversity and inclusion. These acts of hatred and religious bias are not how a community acts.

The email blast from the Division of Inclusion and Equity made it clear that acts of anti-Semitism will not be tolerated at GVSU. his will not be tolerated.

In the email, Bernal wrote:

“Anti-Semitism and bigotry are antithetical to an inclusive educational environment and the university‚Äôs vision, mission, and values. These are not the only incidents reported this semester. Thirty-five bias incidents have been reported and they include race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and national origin. As Lakers, we embrace diversity and expect that students, faculty and staff treat one another with mutual respect and civility and contribute to maintaining a safe and secure environment for everyone.”

The Lanthorn hopes all members of the GVSU community take these words to heart, and stand up against any acts of bias, including the recent abhorrent acts of anti-Semitism that have occurred on our campus. These sorts of actions are not what it means to be a Laker, and it never will. It’s up to us to make sure GVSU stands united against hurtful and hateful actions on campus.