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Margaret Mia

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University of Vermont Working to Improve Jewish Student Life | Inside Higher Ed


University of Vermont administrators recently announced new plans to support Jewish students on campus. The push comes after the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights launched an investigation into a complaint, filed last year, that claimed the university did not adequately respond to incidents that discriminated against Jewish students.

Suresh Garimella, president of the university, released a statement Friday condemning antisemitism and highlighting a new webpage focused on Jewish student life. The page outlines Jewish social, cultural and educational programming on campus; explains the process for reporting bias incidents; and lists a series of steps the university has taken or plans to take to improve Jewish student life, such as administrators meeting with Jewish students to learn more about their experiences.

“I want my message to be clear to the entire campus community: antisemitism, in any form, will not be tolerated at UVM,” Garimella said. “Conduct that targets and threatens Jewish individuals or groups, or that unreasonably interferes with their ability to participate in UVM programs and activities, is unacceptable and completely contradictory to Our Common Ground values. You have my assurance that if a member of our community is found responsible for such conduct, they will be held fully accountable.”

University leaders also recently met with Board of Directors of the Hillel on campus, an organization for Jewish students, to share ideas for new professional development training and community engagement opportunities that could improve religious literacy and education about antisemitism on campus.

Garimella previously drew criticism from some Jewish advocacy groups in September for denying the original allegations of antisemitism made against the university.

Matt Vogel, executive director of the campus Hillel, wrote an email message to community members detailing “the progress that UVM has made to better support Jewish students on campus in a time of rising antisemitism.”

“The Board of Directors of UVM Hillel and I feel that these steps represent strong movement in the right direction,” he said.



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