Jewish groups call for protection of Jewish students at U. of Missouri


(JTA) — Thirty-six organizations wrote a letter to University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin calling for protection of the campus Jewish community days before he announced his resignation over questions about his leadership in the wake of racial tensions on campus.

The letter by the Jewish and pro-Israel organizations expressed concern over reports of a swastika drawn in feces in the wall of a bathroom in a residence hall on Oct. 24.

“We are dismayed that neither you nor any other MU administrator has yet to publicly address this act of blatant anti-Semitism, which clearly targets Jewish students and causes them to feel threatened and unsafe,” the letter read, according to reports.

It is not the first act of anti-Semitism on the MU campus. In April, swastikas and anti-Semitic epithets were written in ash in the stairwell of a campus dormitory. A freshman at the university was arrested for the vandalism.

The letter called on Loftin to “demonstrate unequivocally your commitment to protecting Jewish students no less than other students on your campus” and offers steps he should take to confront acts of anti-Semitism on campus.

In a response to the letter, Loftin said that the university administration “did not immediately respond to the feces swastika “in order to give law enforcement time to investigate,” according to the MU student newspaper, The Maneater.

“Our stance has not and will not change — the University of Missouri seeks to be a welcoming and inclusive campus to all students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Loftin also said in his reply. “We are committed to mandatory training of our people in inclusion and diversity and will continue to work with all to build the framework necessary to achieve our goal.”

Loftin announced Monday that he would resign at the end of this calendar year. His resignation came six hours after the university system’s president, Tim Wolfe, resigned in the wake of the backlash over what students said was an inadequate response to racial incidents on campus.

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