In Support of Our Jewish Community

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

On Nov. 11, Interim Chief Diversity Officer Sunil Kukreja shared with us the discovery of anti-Semitic vandalism in the men’s restroom of Wheelock Student Center. I am deeply grieved to report that a second incident—two swastika symbols measuring just under an inch in diameter and etched into a men’s urinal in that same restroom—was discovered and reported by Security Services today.

To our Jewish students, faculty, staff members, alumni and community members: I want you to know in no uncertain terms that this campus is your home. You belong here. You are welcome here. This despicable act, and the person or persons who perpetrated it, do not represent the values of our community.  We will not allow anyone to threaten, demean, diminish or harm in any way our collective right to an environment free of intolerance and hate. I, and the University of Puget Sound, condemn anti-Semitism. I pledge to you that we will work to make Puget Sound a more safe and inclusive home for you.

This is an attack on our entire campus community and we must address it as a campus community. For those not familiar with or who have not attended to the history, reality, and impact of anti-Semitism, it is incumbent upon us all to learn about this long arc of hate in both our country and around the world. We must step up, become educated and understand this for what it is: an attack on our Jewish community, and on the university as a whole.

Yesterday, members of our Jewish Student Union met with Vice President for Student Affairs Uchenna Baker, Interim Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Dean Sunil Kukreja, and Chaplain Dave Wright ’96, and will hold another meeting following the Thanksgiving holiday break. Dean Kukreja is also convening the university’s Bias-Hate Emergency Response Team. This group is charged with coordinating our response to such incidents so that the responsibility for addressing harm, including education and programming, does not fall as a burden to the members of any targeted group.

I wish to thank our Security Services staff for their vigilance and for immediately securing the area to remove this offensive piece of vandalism from our campus. Thank you, too, to all who work so tirelessly to promote the rights and safety of everyone who lives, works and learns on our campus.

For those who would like to speak with someone for support, please contact Interim Chief Diversity Officer Sunil Kukreja, kukreja@pugetsound.edu; or Chaplain Dave Wright, dwright@pugetsound.edu. Dave and Sunil will be in front of Wheelock Student Center at 3:30 p.m. today for a brief, masked and socially distanced time of witness against hate and to affirm the Jewish members of our community.

This has been a challenging year in countless ways. We can and will draw strength from one another as we live our values as a community every day. We will continue to refute any act that causes harm, and continue our investigation into these assaults upon us to identify the perpetrator(s) and hold them accountable. 

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford, Ph.D. | President