Finals Week News Round-Up: Texas A&M Rabbi Confronts White Supremacist

Are finals interfering with your catch up on campus news? New Voices has you covered. Stay in the loop with this week’s news round-up, featuring three of the latest stories from campuses across the nation. Click the links to read more. See something here that you want to report on – or kvetch or kvell about? Get in touch at editor@newvoices.org.

  • At Texas A&M University, hundreds of students protested Richard Spencer – a white nationalist speaker and a founding member of the alt-right movement – on campus Tuesday night. Police later tweeted that two non-student arrests were made.

During the Q&A session following Spencer’s speech, Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, the Texas A&M Hillel Rabbi, confronted the speaker. “My tradition teaches a message of radical inclusion and love,” Rosenberg said. “Will you sit down and learn Torah with me, and learn love?”

Spencer didn’t exactly take Rosenberg up on his offer to form a chevruta. Instead, he insinuated that Zionism was akin to his ideology for white peoplehood. He went on to add that the push for Jewish continuity hinges on avoiding assimilation, which he respects. “I want my people to have that same sense of themselves,” Spencer said. Rosenberg didn’t respond.

  • The University of Illinois rejected a petition to turn their three campuses into “sanctuary campuses” for undocumented students, a push at universities since the election.

While the University of Illinois administration expressed support for undocumented students and vowed to continue keeping their information safe, the school didn’t agree to the petition’s specific requests: withholding students’ documentation status, providing administrators designated to help undocumented students, not complying with raids or deportations, setting aside funds for undocumented students, and promising instate tuition for students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.

Faced with a similar petition, the Northwestern University administration also balked at calling themselves a “sanctuary campus” but emphasized their continued support for undocumented students and commitment to diversity.

In contrast, the University of California and California State University systems embraced the label, promising not to assist in the questioning, detaining, or deportation of their students.

  • At Northwestern University, a Jewish Studies lecturer was greeted by a stranger with a Nazi salute and “Heil Hitler” near the campus Hillel.

After the incident, Michael Simon, the executive director of Northwestern Hillel, requested extra police patrols around Hillel, Chabad, and the AEPi house, he told The Daily Northwestern.

University Police will increase patrolling around the Hillel building at least through the end of winter break in the beginning of January.

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