(Update: 11/13/23) The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law and a separate outfit called Jewish on Campus filed a complaint related to activities at Wellesley College with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “to address increasing discrimination against and harassment of Jews in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
As with institutions of higher education across the country, colleges in Wellesley have been navigating the complications of the Israel-Hamas war on their campuses.
Wellesley College has made national headlines following an email sent by a resident assistant to students in which it was stated that “Munger Hall stands in strong condemnation of Israel’s actions and those who have supported their actions against Palestinians. We firmly believe that there should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community.” That email, and a later apology, were published more publicly by a former media director for the Israeli Consulate in New York.
The initial resident assistant email, and its aftermath, prompted Wellesley College President Dr. Paula Johnson to follow up on an initial post to the campus from her about the violence in Israel and Gaza from Oct. 11.
Her Oct. 20 memo, titled “My reflections on this painful time,” stated that “It recently came to my attention that a small number of student residence hall leaders from one dormitory sent a letter to their housemates in their capacity as resident assistants that expressed views on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Our Student Life team met with these students and talked about their role and responsibility to support all students. They have since sent an apology to all students in the residence hall. That these young leaders were able to learn from this episode gives me hope.”
At Babson College, also in Wellesley, President Stephen Spinelli earlier this month issued a statement addressing the Middle East conflict and called attention to a student-led rally that has since taken place.
Over the last several days, more than a thousand innocent Israeli citizens, including children, were horrifically murdered and endured unspeakable atrocities at the hands of the terrorist group Hamas. We vehemently condemn these heinous acts and recognize the profound grief, pain, and uncertainty they have wrought. We stand firm in our support for the Jewish community in Israel, around the world, and here at Babson College.
We recognize, as well, the pain and suffering of many innocent residents of Gaza and mourn the suffering and loss of life that has befallen many who were blameless for these senseless acts of terrorism. We are united in our hope for peace and respect for human life and dignity.