UW holds town hall meeting in light of anti-semitism
The University of Wisconsin held a meeting on antisemitism, Tuesday. It was in response to an incident January when a student posted pictures of Adolf Hitler and swastikas to a Jewish student’s door at Sellery Hall. The student targeted in the incident said it was an “insensitive prank gone wrong” between floor mates. But the students and staff at the meeting, held at Gordon Commons, feel that it was anything but a joke.
“We are still reeling from this,” said Dean of Students, Lori Berquam, said at the start of the meeting.
The UW initially handled the incident quietly on Jan. 26 when it happened. Only students in Sellery Hall B were initially told. It wasn’t until the photo was posted on social media that more students learned about it. After more students saw what happened the university sent out an email inviting all staff and students to a meeting on anti-Semitism. UW officials spent the first part of the meeting going through the timeline of events; they then opened up the floor to questions and critiques from students. One student said she didn’t feel that the meeting was going to accomplish much.
“We’re having a conversation about anti-Semitism, but how productive do you feel having a conversation about anti-Semitism is when the whole room is Jewish,” a student said.
UW officials answered questions from multiple students. They believe the meeting was a good opportunity to learn from students and said they are always trying to adopt more effective practices.
“These events can help us better improve these policies that exists in our city and our campus,” said Joshua Moon Johnson, the chair of the University’s hate and bias response committee.
Jonathan Walters, the student who was targeted, did not attend the meeting. However, in an interview with News 3 beforehand, said that these kind of conversations need to be had because anti-Semitism still exists on campus.