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Open Letter to University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill

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Dear President Magill,


We are writing to express our concerns about your failure to condemn the recent antisemitic graffiti uncovered the evening of October 20 next to the University of Pennsylvania’s Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) chapter house.


The graffiti in question read “The Jews R Nazis.”


The University of Pennsylvania’s swift condemnation of this graffiti is needed to show Jewish students that you are committed to ensuring their safety and well-being, especially at a time when it is being threatened nationwide.


While we understand that the University’s Division of Public Safety is still investigating the incident as “a potential hate crime,” the wording used is irrefutably antisemitic and therefore deeply painful for Jewish students and their allies to witness. 


A recent Hillel International survey reported that since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, 56% of Jewish students feel scared on campus, and 1 in 4 report that there has been an act of antisemitic violence or hate on their campus in the last 10 days.


Furthermore, the Secure Community Network (SCN)has reported an alarming uptick in antisemitic incidents concentrated on college campuses since October 7. SCN received 94 antisemitic incident reports on college campuses, representing 15% of the total 614 antisemitic incidents logged across the country during the month of October.


We appreciate your commitment to better supporting Jewish students on Penn’s campus following the Palestine Writes Festival held on campus in September. However, as the university continues to consider its policies to effectively combat antisemitism on campus, we remind you how critical timeliness and consistency are to setting the precedent that antisemitism and hate have no place at Penn.


Penn’s statement on this matter is necessary to ensure that Jewish students understand that they have your protection and support on campus.


Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.




Michael Balaban, President & CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

Jason Holtzman, Director, Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia