Hillel, UGA SGA Urge New UGA Antisemitism Definition
In an effort to combat antisemitism and provide Jewish students on campus with a community that is free from harassment and discrimination, The University of Georgia (UGA) Student Government Association (SGA), with support from Students Supporting Israel (SSI) and Hillels of Georgia, unanimously passed a resolution to urge the UGA administration to adopt the official definition of antisemitism, as stated by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The IHRA defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Sarah Martynov and Kara Litwin, co-presidents of SSI at UGA and members of Hillel at UGA wrote the resolution, titled “A Resolution Condemning Antisemitism and Calling for Institutional Representation for Jewish Students,” and the UGA Student Government Association passed it unanimously on January 26, 2021, before sending it to UGA President, Jere Morehead and the UGA Equal Opportunity Office for consideration.
The UGA administration has the option to endorse the resolution, but to be fully accepted by the university, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia must also accept the resolution state-wide.
“Reflecting on the antisemitic incident that occurred on UGA’s campus in 2019, we wanted to encourage the university to prevent antisemitism in the future,” said Martynov. “With the help of SSI and Hillel, this resolution brings Jewish voices to the table.”
“The resolution is a major win for the Jewish community on campus at UGA and beyond,” said Roey Shoshan, Executive Director of Hillel at UGA. “We commend the student leaders as change makers who are not only concerned about making the UGA community more welcoming and inclusive for Jewish students but in fact for all students.”
“I look forward to working together with our students to encourage the UGA administration to embrace the IHRA definition of antisemitism,” said Elliot B. Karp, CEO of Hillels of Georgia. “The students’ initiative and SGA resolution create a pathway to ensuring that the entire campus community is aware of the impact of antisemitism on Jewish students. It also can lead to creative solutions ensuring that all forms of bigotry, hatred and discrimination are eliminated on campus. Hillels of Georgia will continue to inspire and advance similar initiatives on other campuses across Georgia.”
UGA SGA leaders, together with SSI and UGA Hillel are reaching out to Student Government Associations on campuses across the state and plan to partner with other campuses to host a webinar to share steps students can take to bring similar resolution to the University System of Georgia’s attention.