Letter to the Editor

    Editor:

    I was shocked and upset to read about the defacement of a student organization’s flyers. I want to publicly state that the Union of Jewish Students was in no way involved in this defacement. Regardless of the feelings of our organization about the speakers advertised on the flyers, UJS recognizes and supports the rights of all students to protected free speech, and would not act in any way to impinge upon those rights.

    Additionally, the designation of this incident as a “”hate crime”” or a “”hate incident”” is erroneous. While the defacement certainly was inappropriate and wrong, the Jewish star is not a hateful symbol, just as the drawing of a cross on similar flyers could not be seen as hateful. Furthermore, the definition of a hate crime is a crime that “”was motivated, in whole or in part, by the victim’s race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability …”” The Students for Justice is not a religious or ethnic organization. The events advertised on these flyers were of a political nature, and thus the defacement of them cannot be viewed as being motivated by hate against a religious or ethnic group.

    As an organization that has experienced the removal and defacement of our flyers for several years, we empathize with the frustration and anger of the members of Students of Justice, and join them in hoping that the university will take steps to uphold the rights of all student organizations to post appropriate flyers.

    — Julia Witkow

    President, Union of Jewish Students

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