How Should We Address Prejudice On Campus

The opposing side of the freedom wall reads "Together Against Semitism" after being tampered with. The original message, written by Hillel at EMU, condemned antisemitism.

On Dec. 9, a journalist for the Eastern Echo reported that a message condemning anti-semitism on the freedom walls had been tampered with. The freedom walls, located between Pray-Harrold and the Snow Health Center, had been painted by Hillel at EMU on Nov. 9. One of the walls read, “Together Against Antisemitism”. Sunday, it was discovered that the word “anti” was painted over, so the message then read, “Together Against Semitism”.

EMU President James Smith and EMU Student Government both released statements condemning these actions.

It is not shocking that in a time with an increasingly divisive political atmosphere, this division has crept onto campus. This is unacceptable, though. We must push forward and continue to work towards an all-inclusive campus.

One of the most important steps we must take as a community to address this prejudice is to continue the conversation. We must open a dialog with each other, and to make it known that this hateful rhetoric has no place on our campus. Remaining silent when this kind of speech emerges sends a message of consent.

It is also important to speak up when you hear hateful speech. Whether in person, or online, if you see a hateful message, always speak up to promote understanding and acceptance.

Education is another important tool in dismantling prejudiced views. It’s possible to educate people through many different mediums. Some smaller ideas include posters, fliers, and other literature to promote tolerance and acceptance while educating students on the Jewish community.

Some larger-scale ideas include multicultural festivals, meetings, panels, and other activities. Inviting guest speakers could help promote the events, and it’s important to make it known that all students are welcome.

If you’re interested in getting involved on campus to help promote diversity and tolerance, there are several student organizations that work towards this goal. Hillel at EMU is one such organization for members of the Jewish community. They work to promote social justice and community service, among other things. If you’re interested in joining, their information is available on EagleSync.

One thing is clear: if we don’t address this now, other groups on campus might face the same hateful rhetoric that we’ve seen demonstrated this week. As students at EMU, we embrace our differences and celebrate diversity. We stand with the Jewish community as we fight to create a more unified campus.

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