Jewish Response After the Failed Encampment Removal- Letter to DU Leadership

May 24, 2024

From:   Hillel of Colorado Board of Directors and Staff

Endorsed by: American Jewish Committee Colorado, Mountain States Anti-Defamation League, Israel
American Council Colorado, JEWISHcolorado, Jewish Community Relations Council for
Colorado, Rocky Mountain Rabbis and Cantors, Stand With Us Colorado, and Stop
Antisemitism Now Colorado


To:     DU Chancellor Jeremy Haefner

We reiterate our demand of last week: remove the tent encampment from DU.  Full stop.

Do it immediately or the loss of control we witnessed Tuesday night will escalate: we are fortunate there weren’t serious injuries.  Things have already intensified beyond what you said you feared, to “a point that can cause long-lasting harm within our community.”  Your decision last night to fence the encampment for its safety, while understandable given the chain of events that could have been prevented, only adds to a feeling of tent-encampment permanence that deeply exacerbates what to us is antisemitism in our midst.

Yes, there are well-meaning DU undergrads and graduate students in the tents, and I spoke with several of them at the encampment just this afternoon.  But you misjudged the sophistication of outside organizers and their national playbook intended to lead to the elimination of The State of Israel.  Such actors have controlled the encampment’s narrative from the beginning and not once recognized the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish country within secure and democratic borders.

Suspend and/or expel those students who are breaking the rules you set down, and any who participate in antisemitic acts.  Get non-students off our campus.  Stop antisemitism in its tracks at the University of Denver.  Stand with us now.

PS: following the events Tuesday night, 5/21/24, our University of Denver Hillel Student Board wrote the following:


At DU Hillel, we are committed to fostering a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment for all Jewish community members. Aggression, in any form, undermines the values of mutual respect and understanding that we strive to uphold. Whether it manifests as physical violence, verbal abuse, intimidation, or harassment, aggressive behavior has no place on our campus.


We believe every student, faculty member, and staff person deserves to learn, work, and grow in an environment free from fear and hostility. We encourage all members to stand against aggression and support those affected by it.


To this end, Hillel at DU offers resources and support for those who experience or witness aggression. This includes free counseling services, a safe space, and clear reporting mechanisms to address incidents swiftly and fairly. 


We call on everyone at DU, Jewish or not, to contribute to a culture of respect and kindness. Together, we can ensure our campus remains a vibrant, welcoming place where everyone can thrive.

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