After turmoil, Florida State University president says anti-Semitism has ‘no home’ on campus


(JTA) — Six weeks after thousands of Florida State University students petitioned for their student body president to be removed over social media posts they described as anti-Semitic, the school’s president has announced several changes aimed at making Florida State more hospitable for Jewish students.

In an open letter to the campus community, John Thrasher said he wanted “to reaffirm that Antisemitism and religious discrimination have no home at Florida State University” and outlined what he said were “significant developments on campus to combat Antisemitism.”

A task force will review Jewish student life on campus, students will be surveyed about anti-Semitism on campus and staff will be trained annual on issues including anti-Semitism, religious discrimination and ways to foster a more inclusive campus for Jewish students and employees, he wrote.

Plus, the school has reestablished a Jewish Student Union and is creating an alumni network “to provide enhanced support and educational resources for all our students,” Thrasher wrote, while the university calendar will be revised to include “all significant religious holidays.”

Thrasher’s letter comes about six weeks after more than 8,000 FSU students signed an online petition to remove the student senate president over social media posts described as anti-Semitic, and less than a month after the student senate passed a resolution that would help to combat anti-Semitism on campus, which also recognized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism.

“I want to reaffirm that this is a top priority. My university leadership team and I will continue to work determinedly to combat Antisemitism and unlawful behavior,” Thrasher wrote in the letter. “While freedom of speech is of paramount importance on a college campus, so is creating a climate of acceptance and appreciation for the value and richness of the many cultures and ideas that make Florida State University such an excellent academic experience.”

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