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The Growing Danger of Kristallnacht on Campus

Chilling Displays of Hate Show Why We Need Senate Bill 83
By Jerry C. Cirino
November 10, 2023
On The Record

We are witnessing a major reason Senate Bill 83 is needed in Ohio now. 

Kristallnacht on campus is dangerously close to becoming a reality.

The nationwide support for Hamas on campus and in the streets after the attack on Israel has been a shocking wakeup call for liberals.

They are especially stunned to find so many fellow leftists supporting the attackers. 
Liberals ask themselves, how did such a virulent antisemitism become so widespread within the ranks of the left?

DEI is a prime reason.

The practice of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has become gospel on campus. It is more like a cancer, according to someone who should know.

Tabia Lee wrote, “As a black woman, I was the perfect person for the job” as director of the DEI department at Silicon Valley’s De Anza College. 

But Lee ran into a brick wall when she tried to address rampant antisemitism on campus. She was called a “dirty Zionist.”

“I was told in no uncertain terms that Jews are ‘white oppressors’ and our job as faculty and staff members was to ‘decenter whiteness.’”

Lee witnessed antisemitism on a weekly basis in her two years as a faculty DEI director. She finally came to an inescapable conclusion – “I can safely say that toxic DEI ideology deliberately stokes hatred toward Israel and the Jewish people.”

“DEI is built on the unshakable belief that the world is divided into two groups of people: the oppressors and the oppressed. Jews are categorically placed in the oppressor category, while Israel is branded a ‘genocidal, settler, colonialist state.”

When she defended Jews and refused to attack them, Lee was accused of “actively abetting racist oppression.”

Lee summed up proponents of DEI on campus: “I have never encountered a more hostile environment toward the members of any racial, ethnic or religious group.”

She heard the same story from countless students and faculty members across the country, noting a study “found 96% of Israel-focused tweets by campus DEI staff criticized the Jewish state,” and “that was before Hamas launched its brutal assault on Israel.”

Lee is convinced, “This outpouring of antisemitic hatred is the direct result of DEI’s insistence that Jews are oppressors.”

She warns, “When you stoke that kind of division and anger, you unleash fires you can’t control.”  

Lee concludes, “Administrators and lawmakers need to get toxic DEI out of higher education. If they don’t, there will be no true diversity and inclusion on campus, but there will be even more shocking hatred toward Jews.”

Ohio State University employs 132 DEI administrators with an estimated annual payroll cost of $13.4 million. 

Since the Hamas attack, OSU appears to have been vigilantly on guard to prevent the kind of harassment of Jewish students we have seen at colleges such as Harvard and the death threats made at Cornell  – just some of the virulent expressions of antisemitism  and pro-Hamas demonstrations that have been widespread on campuses across the country.

OSU Acting President Peter Mohler issued a statement Monday that said, “We have not and will not tolerate hatred, intimidation or harassment of anyone based on their religious beliefs, nationality or identity.”

But now the violence has come to OSU, as warning signs of a brewing storm begin to emerge.

Two OSU students were attacked early this morning by two men yelling a slur and asking if they were Jewish, according to police. One victim was treated at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and released. There was no word on the condition of the other victim.

Columbus Police are also investigating an incident at the OSU Hillel Wexner Jewish Student Center, located near Ohio State University. A post on the OSU Hillel Facebook page says two people were caught on security cameras taking photos, vandalizing Israeli flags in the lobby, and shouting anti-Israel statements and threats.

Governor Mike DeWine has instructed the Ohio State Highway Patrol to coordinate with the Ohio State University Police Department and the Columbus Police Division of Police to provide extra patrols in the campus area.

He said, "We will not tolerate hate and violence on our college campuses or anywhere in Ohio. These are despicable acts, and as Governor, I will ensure that the State continues our efforts to protect all Ohio students."

Meanwhile, 32 OSU professors and more than 2,000 students and alumni have signed a publically posted “Statement in Solidarity with Palestine.”

The statement reads like anti-Israeli propaganda from Al Jazeera, which the document actually quotes in claiming 8,306 Palestinians have been "murdered" in Gaza since October 7th.

The professors “abhor Israeli officials’ attempt to dehumanize Palestinians to gain public consent while preparing to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.”

The statement does claim “We do not condone the indiscriminate killing and kidnapping of Israeli civilians by Hamas.” But it knows who to blame for the atrocities committed by Hamas: “the root cause of this cycle of violence is Israeli settler colonialism, military occupation, and apartheid.”

The statement endorses the effort to divest from Israeli companies operating in what it calls the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.” 

And the professors give an endorsement to “Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University (which) has led the fight to demand University condemnation of Israeli violence against Palestinians in Gaza.”

Students for Justice in Palestine is an ominous presence lurking on the OSU campus. 

As OTR previously reported, the national SJP group has an OSU chapter that reacted to the Hamas slaughter of civilians by holding a rally to "uplift and honor our resistance and our martyrs” and their “heroic” resistance “to Zionism and Western imperialism.”

Administrators at Brandeis University see the writing on the wall. They announced on Monday the university is banning SJP. It wasn’t hard to explain why.

A Brandeis spokesperson said, "National SJP has called on its chapters to engage in conduct that supports Hamas in its call for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the world and its people.”

Addtionally, Columbia just suspended the campus chapter of the SJP after it demanded the university declare that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza. The Columbia SJP had called the terrorist attacks by Hamas on October 7 "an unprecedented historic moment for the Palestinians of Gaza."

"Holocaust 2.0" was written in chalk on campus walkways at a SJP rally at the University of Maryland yesterday, according to witnesses.   

Sadly, the hate on campus is only growing.

The war in the Mideast is not likely to end soon. Antisemitism is not likely to end soon. The hate on campus is not likely to end soon. But we can do something positive and move in the right direction, right here and right now.

We can cut off the oxygen fanning the flames of hate on campus by banning mandatory DEI indoctrination at Ohio’s public universities.

That is what my Senate Bill 83 will do.

It will ensure that fealty to the hateful ideology of DEI is no longer required on campus.

Senate Bill 83 will restore intellectual diversity and academic freedom to Ohio’s public institutions of higher learning. It will restore freedom of speech on campus. It will encourage classroom debate and a true diversity of opinion on campus. 

It will help curb the woke screening process DEI poses to faculty hiring at our institutions of higher edcation, as discussed by panelists on the Ohio Public University Trustee Governance Symposium on October 23.

This bill will prevent professors from censoring or punishing opposing views expressed by students. And it will curb the ubiquitous woke indoctrination on campus by banning mandatory DEI courses and training for both staff and students.

We have seen where that training leads. The theory of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion promises a heaven on earth. In practice, it delivers just the opposite.

Today marks 85 years since Kristallnacht ushered in the reign of terror, death, and destruction upon the Jews in Germany.

Let us hope and pray we have learned the lessons of the past well enough to avoid repeating the worst episode in the history of the human race.

The time to act is now – before it is too late.

The Ohio Senate passed SB 83 in June. Now, the Ohio House needs to do the same.

Jerry Cirino represents Ohio Senate District 18