Columbia Students, Faculty Rally Against Hate Crimes
11/05/2007 04:13 PM
A group of students and faculty at Columbia University's Teachers College joined together today to stand up against hate, following several incidents in the past month of anti-Semitism and racism at the school. NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report.
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Professor Elizabeth Midlarsky affixed a mezuzah to her office door Monday morning. The scroll serves as a declaration of the Jewish faith.
"It's a wonderful thing that is being done today,” said Midlarsky. “I feel it is a real act of affirmation."
Just last week, the professor's door was found defaced with a spray-painted swastika. On three occasions in October, Midlarsky, who is a Holocaust researcher, found propaganda in her mailbox denying the Holocaust happened.
In response, the Teachers College Jewish Association rallied outside the school Monday to send the message that such acts are unacceptable.
"As taught in the ethics of our Jewish faith, the TCJA denounces prejudice directed toward all minority groups, and stands in solidarity to support them," said TCJA Co-President Rebecca Pasternak.
Among them, an African American faculty member at the Teachers College, who found a noose hung on her office door, also in October. The president of the Teachers College appeared at the rally to assure students that the school has zero tolerance for hate crimes.
"We are working closely with the New York City Police and have every confidence that the investigation of this matter and other recent incidents is being conducted with the highest degree of thoroughness and professionalism,” said Teachers College President Susan Fuhrman.
It's not just students who attended the rally who are angry about this issue, other students who did not attend the rally told NY1 that they, too, are upset at what's been going on at their school.
"I support them and I feel very upset that it happens at a place like this where we are supposed to be so diverse,” said one student.
"This is a very complicated issue and we are talking about it a lot in our own community,” said another.
Along those lines, the Teachers College has offered to host a prayer breakfast against hate on November 29th, part of a citywide day against hate declared by city lawmakers.
- Roger Clark