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, [email protected]