Alumni Antisemitism and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Solidarity is the Answer
As professionals at Trinity College—an on-campus Hillel director and a vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion — we wanted to respond to the recently released U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism. We applaud the strategy’s stated goals of: 1) incorporating antisemitic bias and discrimination training programs into diversity, equity and inclusion work; and 2) increasing cross-community solidarity and collective action to counter antisemitism and other forms of hate. We have already begun to successfully implement this strategy at Trinity, and we offer our approach as a potential model for other campuses to adopt.
In early September 2022, three swastikas were carved into a Jewish student’s bedroom door inside a residence hall at Trinity. Prior to this incident, Trinity had been a “quiet campus” — one without a lot of anti-Israel protests or antisemitic incidents targeting Jewish students. The swastikas shocked and upset many students on campus, including non-Jewish students of color who empathized with the experience of being the target of hate. At the same time, many Jewish students reported that some of their white non-Jewish friends didn’t really understand what was so upsetting about the swastikas.
Rabbi Rachel Putterman, a 2020 graduate of Hebrew College, is director of Hillel and associate chaplain at Trinity College. She also works as an adjunct faculty member for Hebrew College Open Circle Jewish Learning.
Dr. Anita Davis is the Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Trinity College.