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President launches new committee on preventing antisemitism and hate

Will examine the current landscape at Northwestern to help guide response to the Middle East crisis and ensure mechanisms are in place to help prevent violence and threatening behaviors

Northwestern will create a new committee on preventing antisemitism and hate, President Michael Schill announced yesterday in a message to the University community.

“To support the University’s commitment to protecting our students, faculty and staff from antisemitism and other forms of discriminatory or threatening acts based upon religion or national origin and to promote our central mission of civil dialogue and learning, I will appoint the President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate,” he wrote.

The committee will be co-chaired by Kellogg professor Efraim Benmelech and Dean Bryan Brayboy of the School of Education and Social Policy. Committee members will be selected to represent a diverse set of Northwestern perspectives and will include faculty, staff, students, alumni and trustees. 

“The President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate will examine the current landscape at the University, to help guide our response to the crisis in the Middle East and to ensure we have mechanisms in place to help prevent the type of violence and threatening behaviors we have seen at peer institutions,” President Schill wrote. “It will focus not just on stemming the growth of antisemitism, but also hate directed to other groups such as our students of Palestinian descent. It will work with me, the provost and our entire community to find ways to bring us together through engagement, learning and dialogue across difference. This could include suggestions related to future academic panels and filling gaps in our curriculum and research efforts. It also will help us understand whether our mechanisms to report antisemitic or other acts of bias are sufficient.”

In the message, Schill said he has met with students, faculty, parents, alumni and staff across Northwestern, “many of whom have shared very personal stories of pain, anger, fear or disillusionment as we — individually and collectively — face the uncertainties and horrors of the terror attacks and war in the Middle East.”

“As the advisory committee gets up and running,” he wrote, “I will continue to meet with individuals and groups in our community, because your feedback and experiences are vitally important to me and to our University. Our indefatigable Student Affairs team will continue its outreach to student groups and individuals, providing space, psychological and spiritual support and consultation. And our Department of Safety and Security will continue increased patrols and visibility.”

Read the complete message to the community on Leadership Notes.