update deskSchools & Higher Education

Pa. Gov. Shapiro: Failing to protect students’ security ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Jason Holtzman of the local Jewish Community Relations Council told JNS that people should “speak out to show that there is zero tolerance for these behaviors and actions.”

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. Credit: ZB Photos/Shutterstock.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. Credit: ZB Photos/Shutterstock.

The chaos at Columbia University in New York City has provoked a response from Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro, who is Jewish and a graduate of day school in the Philadelphia suburbs, pointed to the elite university on Wednesday and told Politico that “what we’re seeing in some campuses across America, where universities can’t guarantee the safety and security of their students, it’s absolutely unacceptable.”

Jason Holtzman, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council at the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, told JNS the group commends the governor “for making it clear that institutions of higher education have a responsibility to protect Jewish students.”

“This is an issue that affects college campuses nationwide, but we have also seen an alarming number of antisemitic incidents at colleges in the Philadelphia region since Oct. 7,” he continued. He said that as a community “we must also speak out to show that there is zero tolerance for these behaviors and actions.”

Rabbi David Markowitz, executive vice president at Olami, which operates some 100 chapters (including at Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia; the Pennsylvania State University in College Park; and the University of Pittsburgh), told JNS that “the situation on campuses is outrageous. It is critical that where universities are not meeting their obligations to the safety of students, state governments take action to ensure Zero Tolerance for antisemitism, hate, violence and support of terrorism.”

Shapiro stated that “if the universities in accordance with their policies can’t guarantee the safety and security and well-being of the students, then I think it is incumbent upon a local mayor or local governor or local town councilor, whoever is the local leadership there, to step in and enforce the law.”

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