Chattanooga, TN – The campus of UTC was marred by antisemitic flyers that were posted on campus over the weekend.
The flyer claimed that the vast majority of slave owners in America’s past were Jewish. This claim is historically inaccurate but is being increasingly pushed by celebrities such as Kanye West and Kyrie Irving.
UTC Chancellor Steve Angle released the following statement on Monday Morning.
“This past weekend we became aware of several antisemitic fliers posted on our campus. The fliers include blatant falsehoods. The university strongly condemns and rejects antisemitism in any form. I have directed the removal of any fliers that have been posted in violation of university policy and for our security team to investigate the matter. In the meantime, I want to ensure every member of our campus community that we remain fully committed to your safety and security.”
The source of these flyers is unknown at this time. Both students and Jewish leaders are disturbed and are calling for awareness of this growing problem.
UTC student Josef Owens said that, “My personal reaction was a lot of shock. That something like that could even happen on a college campus like this.”
Another student, John Sloan, added that, “You just kinda shake your head and wonder what planet these people are living on to a certain extent?”
Jewish leaders are disappointed about the division that is being driven between two historically oppressed communities.
The Regional Director for the American Jewish Council in Atlanta, Dov Wilker, said that, “This newer antisemitism we are seeing really is trying to create a division between the Black and Jewish communities which have really strong historical ties.”
The Executive Director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, Michael Dzik, recalled the history of Jewish and African-American relations by saying, “I think some of that history is lost. It’s been 40-50 years since Martin Luther King and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel marched together. The lynchings in Mississippi, two out of the three young men were young Jews from New York who had come down to the South to help the African-American community. We have so much in common in working together, we need to get back to that.”
No solution is immediately clear to this growing issue, but any solutions will require the efforts of everyone to better understand each other.
Owens said that one thing his fellow students can do on campus is, “I feel like just talking to them, to make sure groups like that are included because the second you start to exclude people that’s when you make them even more of a minority group.”
Wilker challenges students by stating, “(Learn from) the recent experience with Kyrie Irving. He responded like, “How dare you threaten my point of view? How dare you challenge my viewpoint?” What’s most important for students today to be open to understanding or to not accept everything they are receiving.”
Dzik’s message for those who are concerned is, “To my non-Jewish brothers and sisters, clergy, average Janes and Joes to stand up, say something. Post it on your social media! This is unacceptable.”