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Ivy League Schools Get Heat After Pittsburgh Statements Don’t Mention Jews

Two Ivy League universities got called out about their statements addressing the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, as they failed to mention the tragedy was an act of anti-Semitism.

The leaders of Columbia University and Dartmouth College shared vague statements with their students earlier this week regarding the shooting, where 11 people were killed at prayer by a gunman who reportedly said, “All Jews must die.” Neither mentioned that it was a hate crime against Jews — or mentioned Jews at all.

Columbia University revised its statement following outrage from students past and present, the Columbia Spectator reported. The first sentence went from, “We are deeply saddened by the senseless violence at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday morning,” to “We are deeply saddened by the horrific antisemitic attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday morning.”

Both universities lumped attack together with other alleged crimes. Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon sent an email to students with the subject, “Recent National Events.” He wrote that events across the country, which he didn’t specify, have been “targeting people for who they are,” listing religion among political views, gender and race.

The editorial board at the university’s newspaper, The Dartmouth, took note, slamming the vague letter.

The letter was “astounding in its vagueness and passivity,” they wrote. “One would assume that the purpose of such an email would be to condemn the violence of the attacks and provide support for students who feel threatened or who are in mourning. But if this was Hanlon’s intention, then he utterly botched the execution.”

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at, or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher




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