A Statement in Response to Recent Events on Campus

Monday, October 17, 2016

San Francisco State University’s Department of Jewish Studies condemns frontpagemag.com’s threats against one of our professorial colleagues, its reliance on an anonymous website that has targeted several of our undergraduate students, and its vandalism of our campus. As scholars and teachers of Jewish Studies, we reject the invocation of anti-Semitism as a tool to advance a narrow political agenda. We further reject any message that stereotypes, engages in guilt by association, and makes use of reductionist and simplistic labeling of individuals and groups. These sorts of reprehensible messages and disreputable actions are antithetical to our vital university priority: creating and nurturing the open exchange of ideas in an atmosphere that is safe for all.

We know all too well how tough it can be to engage challenging and complex ideas on campus. The actions of frontpagemag.com only make it more difficult by modeling the very sort of behavior we condemn as irreconcilable to our university’s mission and our critical role as the Bay Area’s only Department of Jewish Studies. We also know that when the free exchange of ideas is nourished and cherished at SF State, critical academic learning succeeds. This formula is the basis for our commitment to deep engagement with the diverse communities on our campus and in the Bay Area.

We remain committed to joining people together in academic conversations that reflect the sophistication, nuance, and complexity of our shared experiences. For that reason, we reject anyone or any group that seeks to limit open conversation or turn members of our community against each other. Because we value and welcome into our classes every single SF State student, we repudiate any message or behavior that threatens or marginalizes any of our students.

We envision a university that stands for the free exchange of ideas, protects academic freedom, advocates for free speech, and strives for the normalization of inter-group relations on and off campus. As we work with the university administration to address issues of anti-Semitism on campus, we reject frontpagemag.com’s tactics, which open the door to Islamophobia, xenophobia, and racism, as well as other prejudiced and jaundiced worldviews that are inimical to our values and well-being.


Faculty of the Department of Jewish Studies

San Francisco State University