SF State's Jewish Problem: Faculty, Bay Area Leaders Decry Worsening Climate

Thursday, May 04, 2017

J WEEKLY -- “We have been trying to get the president of the university to take a clear and public stand that anti-normalization has no place on campus,” said SFSU Jewish Studies Professor Marc Dollinger. “It’s in fact against the very mission of the University. If the approach is not to talk to someone with whom you have a political disagreement, then we’re not a university.”

Of anti-normalization, whose proponents refuse to acknowledge or “normalize” the State of Israel or Zionism, Wong said, “I am the first to say it is an issue,” adding, “I told [Dollinger] I need to read more about this anti-normalization so I can ask about the limits of this.”

Jewish concerns have been marginalized at SF State, critics charge. As an example, Dollinger and his colleagues point to a February 28 information fair on human rights called “Know Your Rights.” They claim event organizers surreptitiously changed the registration cut-off date in order to exclude Hillel from participating. The matter is currently under investigation by the University.

“Many of us feel a tremendous sense of urgency,” said Luoluo Hong, SFSU vice president of student affairs. “I feel personally responsible when we have students who express distress or concern about campus climate. There are definitely Jewish students who have expressed stress.”