Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Response to “Activists counter wrongful removal from BU Hillel”

Letters to the Editor do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.

To the Editor:

The March 17 editorial “Activists counter wrongful removal from BU Hillel” uses an online video to suggest that there are students and student groups that are not welcome at the Florence and Chafetz Hillel building. The video linked to this article, however, did not show the aggressive actions of at least two of the students, one of whom yelled obscenities and prevented the meeting from carrying on its business. It was these specific actions that led Boston University Police to act as they did. I observed the interaction between the students in question, university police officers and Dean Battaglino. I will attest to the Dean’s and police officers’ professionalism and courtesy throughout the encounter.

We continue to welcome members of all backgrounds, races, political affiliations and religions as our guests at Hillel.

Respect is a two-way street. We welcome all members of our university community to visit and use the Hillel facility and participate in public events. But we also ask our guests to respect all students’ and our Jewish community’s right for safe spaces where we can engage in Jewish religious, cultural and community-building efforts.

The event from the video was, in fact, a private planning meeting. It was an error on behalf of the organizers to not articulate that in advance. Going forward, we will be clearer on differentiating between public activities and private meetings.

Hillel students and professionals respect the rights of all members of the Boston University community to express their political opinions and perspectives and to demonstrate on behalf of causes that they are passionate about. That is a hallmark of an institution of higher education. Our Hillel community also deserves the respect of other members of our BU community as well as the right to conduct our religious, cultural and communal affairs in a safe, secure environment.

David Raphael, BU Hillel Executive Director, draphael@bu.edu

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  1. No, clearly there was horrific discrimination, and I can’t believe it. I literally can’t even. I mean, it’s 2016! How can such prejudice like this happen in the current year!?

    Every demand should be met, and the perpetrators of the horrible race crime should be fired and have their names made public.

    Oy vey.

  2. When students who actually rsvp’d for the event come, and are met by someone who looks like this (see link below), with a sign claiming they support apartheid, and yelling obscenities at them, then they will undoubtedly feel unsafe and uncomfortable (which is how I felt at the event).

    These pictures were taken right before he ran off and said “F*** all of you!”:


    If a group of students associates themselves with someone like this, then they will be asked to leave. It is not a question of their race, ethnic affiliation, or political views; the fact of the matter is that it was a private event that they did not register for, that they were asked to leave from. Even if they did nothing wrong, Hillel is also private property that is not owned by Boston University, so the director of Hillel has every right to ask a student, person, or group of any kind to leave with no reason whatsoever, and enlist the help of police officers to do so if needed.

    • “When students who actually rsvp’d for the event come,” like myself(using the link attached to this response) and are met by students like yourself whom are 100% okay discriminating against me based on my rthe color of my skin and viewpoint, then yes, it becomes logical to be frustrated. I am very frustrated. That’s an understatement. I AM OUTRAGED.

      BU Hillel is not private property and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, in it’s entirety, applies to BU Hillel.

      Finally, private property is never an excuse to discriminate, especially coming from entities like BU and Hillel that repeatedly claim they foster inclusive envrionments.