Press "Enter" to skip to content

President Raymond Addresses Concerns of Antisemitism on Campus

Shortly after noon on April 9th, President Wendy Raymond sent an email titled “A More Inclusive Learning Community” to the Haverford student body addressing “growing concern of antisemitism on our campus.” Beginning the email with a commitment to maintaining Haverford’s values of open dialogue, President Raymond outlined recent events that led her to compose the message.

First, she wrote that several Jewish students had informed her that they felt unable to share their opinions or vote publicly at Plenary due to fear of ostracization. President Raymond expressed that despite the efforts of administration and Students’ Council to make plenary an open and inviting platform for discussion and debate, their actions were insufficient. Next, she cited the disappearance of many Bi-Co Chabad flyers promoting their “How Do You Jew” event. Although President Raymond admitted that most of these flyers were likely taken down by Facilities due to violation of the postering policy (i.e. posting on windows and doors), she stated that the College will “continue to investigate whether there was a targeted removal of any of these materials … which would be a clear case of antisemitism.”

The third and final issue cited in the email was a March 27th teach-in during Israel Apartheid Month, hosted by Haverford College Students for Peace (SFP) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The teach-in, co-led by Disability Advocacy for Students at Haverford (DASH) and Bi-Co COVID Co, addressed “Israel’s weaponization of COVID against Palestinians.” President Raymond wrote that the event’s initial title––“Mass Death on All Fronts”––and content were “deeply offensive to many people,” naming in particular senior staff’s opinion that it was reminiscent of the antisemitic conspiracy theory of blood libel. She claimed that although SFP complied with administration’s request to tone down their language (the title was changed to “Covid in Times of Genocide”), they did not alter the content and title of the event sufficiently. She lamented the “pain and harm” caused by the event and stated that the dean’s office continues to “engage students about this event and its widespread impacts.”

President Raymond reiterated Haverford’s commitment to free speech and discussion. She emphasized the importance of having spaces for dialogue on campus, mentioning events on campus featuring Project Shema to combat antisemitism and representatives from the American Friends Service Committee Update on Gaza (AFSC) to combat anti-Palestinian rhetoric; Joyce Ajlouny was listed as the AFSC contact in the initial email sent to students, but the email text was updated to replace Ajlouny with Jennifer Bing in the text published on the Haverford website.

Following a citation of portions of the Honor Code calling for mutual understanding between individuals through dialogue, President Raymond disavowed bias and harassment and reiterated a commitment to helping Haverford students find common ground through disagreement. She pointed to the formation of a committee on freedom of speech at Haverford as an example of the college’s support for dialogue, as well as listing out other available resources for students and faculty. President Raymond concluded the email by thanking Haverford students for their willingness to listen to others and move past differences and disagreement.

President Raymond’s email prompted criticism from some students, with members of SFP contesting its characterization of events surrounding the teach-in, in particular her assessment of senior staff’s collective opinion. One of the event’s organizers labeled it “categorically false,” claiming that several members of senior staff “have empathetically stated that they do not think we evoked antisemitic tropes.” Further, they explained that the event’s new title received administration’s approval prior to publicization. They also expressed disappointment with President Raymond’s lack of communication with event organizers, claiming that “no dialogue was engaged in” in the thirteen days between the event and her email. The organizer voiced concern over President Raymond’s handling of the situation, particularly the lack of dialogue, the perceived inaccuracy of her characterization of events, and how her actions are “fostering a hostile climate on campus.”

One Comment

  1. Michelle April 26, 2024

    VILE posters reeking of Antisemitism. Classic blood libel.

    Clearly these students know nothing about the public healthcare system in Israel!

    You want to criticize the occupation of the West Bank? Fine. You want to criticize the fanatic right wing government of Israel? Fine.

    But this?
    Your Jew hatred is loud and clear.

    In case your argument is “I don’t hate Jews, just Israelis”….
    You probably don’t know this…Jews are also an ethnic minority. 15 million in the entire world. “Jew” is not just a religion, it is a nation of people indigenous to the land of Israel. Archeological evidence dates us back to the land of Israel 3000 years ago. Maybe that’s the first lesson you need to be taught.

    Thank you President Raymond for being on the right side of history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.