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Following virulent antisemitic training at UIUC, JUF lauds university for response

"This is a watershed moment for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign."

The Jewish United Fund applauds the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for taking strong action against an antisemitic University staff training titled: "Palestine and the Great Return March: Palestinian Resistance to 70 Years of Israeli Terror."  

Wednesday evening, after the end of Yom Kippur, UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones released a statement apologizing for the presentation by a Multicultural Advocate, which was a mandatory training session for Resident Advisors. He pledged to take immediate action to launch wide-ranging campus education and training about antisemitism; to review the University's training, programming and hiring practices; and to commission an external review of the University's multicultural education programs. 

"This is a watershed moment for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign," said Lonnie Nasatir, President of the Jewish United Fund. "JUF applauds Chancellor Jones for his resolve to ensure the university lives up to the values codified in "Inclusive Illinois," UIUC's commitment to cultivating a campus community where 'everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected.'" 

Over the last three years, JUF leadership has worked closely with University leadership to alert and advise the administration about protective steps that could be taken to address and mitigate antisemitic attitudes and incidents on campus.

"We are thankful that University leadership has come to understand that antisemitism is on a par with racism, Islamophobia and other forms of hate," said John Lowenstein, JUF Vice President of Campus Affairs. "Chancellor Jones' commitment to review hiring practices and to institute a first round of training on antisemitism, especially as it affects students, is a positive first step toward staunching the recent surge in antisemitism on campus." 

Prior incidents include swastikas painted on dorm room doors, mezuzahs torn from doorposts and reports of Jewish students hiding their Jewish identities on campus for fear of harassment, Lowenstein said.

"We have been and will continue to be in constant communication with the university and look forward to our ongoing partnership with them in combatting antisemitism," Lowenstein said. "It is significant that the University has taken responsibility, publicly denounced antisemitism, and that it will take immediate steps to prevent antisemitism's spread-and JUF stands at the ready to support next steps.

"It is our hope that the University also will continue to call out antisemitism by name when it occurs, will enact specific tracking of antisemitic bias incidents and the University's response to them, and will institute campus-wide, comprehensive training on antisemitism in all its forms," Lowenstein said. 

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