October 6, 2020
Dear Gonzaga University Community Members:
In our recent email correspondence to the Gonzaga community addressing the stickers and literature placed on campus promoting a white-supremacist, neo-Nazi nationalist group, we failed to include our Jewish community members as in particular affected by the anti-Semitic rhetoric of groups such as this, a chronic problem that our Jewish sisters and brothers face. We want to apologize for this oversight, to acknowledge our insensitivity towards our Jewish students, faculty and staff, and to express our desire and commitment to live in supportive solidarity with them, and with the greater Jewish community of Spokane.
Over the course of the past several years, Jews in the larger Spokane area and our campus community have experienced a rise in anti-Semitism, as has been seen across the country. Jewish families and individuals will forever be affected by the traumas of the Holocaust, and the sight of neo-Nazi literature provokes insecurity and fear throughout the community. To name anti-Semitism when it presents itself on campus is extremely important, as this is not merely a matter of distant history. The hate group that left stickers and flyers on our campus also has deep ties with the group that marched in Charlottesville, VA, chanting "Jews will not replace us" in 2017. Such chants serve as a reminder that anti-Semitic ideologies are often interconnected with other forms of racism and xenophobia. In addition, the appearance of the stickers on our campus occurred during the Jewish community’s High Holy Days, considered the most sacred time of year for the Jewish faith.
We again wish to express our regret in not acknowledging our need and desire to be in supportive solidarity with our Jewish brothers and sisters. In the Ignatian tradition of learning from our lived experience, “How is God working at this moment for our greater good?” we want to advance our community discourse to emphasize solidarity and restorative justice in these extremely challenging times of cultural unrest, and the normalizing of white nationalism. We invite all members of the Gonzaga community to join with us as we say to our Jewish students, faculty and staff: we stand with you, as together we work to continue building a safe, just, and equitable community.
Raymond F. Reyes, Ph.D.
Associate Provost and Chief Diversity Officer
Robin Kelley, Ph.D.
Associate Chief Diversity Officer
Deena J. González, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President
Thayne M. McCulloh, D.Phil.