U of C also feels shock after wave of incidents

Angela Tablac and Angela Tablac

Despite Northwestern’s notoriety for incidents of bias since last Winter Quarter, it is not the only college in the Chicago area grappling with issues of intolerance.

A University of Chicago student group repeatedly has been a target of racially motivated incidents similar to those on NU’s campus, with the latest act of vandalism discovered Thursday.

Chicago Friends of Israel, a campus organization that educates students about Israel and Zionism, posted fliers Nov. 13 in the school’s Center for International Studies for an event Nov. 19 titled, “Why I am a Zionist.”

Members found fliers styled after the original posters that mocked the event with the phrase, “Why am I a Zionist?” said George Anesi, a University of Chicago sophomore and the group’s acting president.

Last week’s incident marks the third time this academic year the group’s posters have been defaced, Anesi said. A flier for another Chicago Friends of Israel event, posted Oct. 9, was found with a swastika cut into it. Anesi said a week later his group put up a poster for a Hillel event that was found ripped.

In the spring four fliers promoting an event about Israel also were damaged, Anesi said. A swastika was drawn on one poster, and three others had insults and other messages.

“Even though it may seem immature and childish or get a rise out of people,” Anesi said, “it simply can’t be tolerated.”

Susan Art, dean of students in the undergraduate college, has a file of all the defaced fliers since the spring, Anesi said. Chicago Friends of Israel will meet with the administration soon to discuss plans of action, he added.

The university’s administrators have not decided how to respond to the incidents, Art said, but they will address seriously any incident in which an individual or group feels marginalized.

Rabbi David Rosenberg, executive director for the Johanna and Herman H. Newberger Hillel Center at the University of Chicago, said he does not believe the incidents have damaged the campus community, but they have highlighted the need for tolerance.

“The individuals who defaced posters of Chicago Friends of Israel or Hillel at the U of C didn’t just show disrespect to Jewish students or students who support Israel,” Rosenberg wrote in an e-mail. “By their actions they also threatened to weaken the social fabric of the university.”