UT passes Jewish support resolution, UMD students discuss pros, cons

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By Abigail Bentz
For the Mitzpeh
@abigailkbentz

 

Photo by Larry D. Moore. CC BY-SA 3.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:University_of_texas_at_austin_main_building_2014.jpg

Photo by Larry D. Moore. CC BY-SA 3.0 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:University_of_texas_at_austin_main_building_2014.jpg

 

The University of Texas student government unanimously passed a resolution to declare support for their Jewish student body March 7. Should this university consider doing the same?

The unanimous passing of the resolution as a response to bomb threats, anti-Semitic social media posts and vandalism, according to The Daily Texan.

Junior kinesiology major at this university, Shelley Chernin, grew up feeling safest in her Jewish Community Center. She thinks a resolution at this university is necessary.

“Maryland has reached out to student groups in their time of need, and this is a time that Jewish students need to know that they are safe and that they are welcome,” Chernin said. “Increasing amounts of hate towards Jews – not only with the bomb threats, but with the swastika graffiti – really calls for that action to make Jews know that they are welcome.”

However, this university can also be considered one of the most unifying universities for Jewish students, according to college-ranking publication EDsmart. This university offers 35 on-campus Jewish student groups, funded by Hillel and UMD. Some groups include the Jewish Student Union, which holds events for Jewish holidays and social action, JFarm, which is focused on gardening and food justice, and JFem, the Jewish Feminist Community.

Senior kinesiology major Ali Yuffee finds a resolution unnecessary.

“I don’t think that Maryland should consider this [resolution] because I don’t feel like the Jewish community here feels unsupported,” Yuffee said. “In my opinion, if Maryland were to draw attention to the problem, it would cause more negative impacts than not saying anything.”

According to hillel.org, nearly 20 percent  of this university’s undergraduate population is Jewish. The University of Texas consists of 9 percent Jewish undergraduate students. The dominance of the religion here may bring more support for the resolution.

Senior journalism major Jake Eisenberg has considered the population a major factor in a proposed resolution here.

“I think that any kind of action that shows support for a community of students that may feel frightened by the recent threats or events can only do good,” Eisenberg said. “As a university with one of the largest percentages of Jewish students in the country, the University of Maryland would do well to consider a resolution similar to the one at the University of Texas.”

The University of Maryland has stated no proposal for a resolution but continues to develop groups and organizations to cater to their diversity. Student Government Association President Katherine Swanson could not be reached for comment.

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