Antisemitism shouldn’t be tolerated: An open letter to Calvin administration

This opinion piece references Instagram posts made by the Calvin chapter of TPUSA that have since been removed. The chapter president posted a statement clarifying that the event is intended to be informative and condemning of West’s recent statements. The statement also noted that the chapter is taking disciplinary action within their team. The author of this piece received an email from an administrator stating that they planned to rectify the situation.

This evening, I had a friend tell me about an Instagram post that the organization Turning Point USA at Calvin posted on their Instagram account. Turning Point USA advertised an upcoming Kanye West themed party today, even in light of the deeply upsetting things he has recently said about Jewish people. For example, Kanye said, “I see good things about Hitler” within the past week. 

There is a difference between exercising free speech on campus and actively supporting a public figure who has unleashed a barrage of hate speech in the past few weeks. I don’t want to be on a campus that does not address hate speech towards any group of people, and many of us here at Calvin (myself included) have Jewish family and friends and do not appreciate these comments being used for humor. And it’s not without consequences: research shows that hate speech leads to an increase in actual violence.

It is upsetting, to say the least, that these kinds of sentiments are allowed to be advertised as a campus event. I believe, along with many of my friends, peers and professors, that there should be some kind of repercussions for spreading hate speech and making light of antisemitism on campus. These comments are not funny, as opposed to what these advertisements state. What Hitler did to Jewish people is not funny. It is horrific.

We should not be silent in the face of injustices.”

This is not a new phenomenon at Calvin, if we recall the antisemitic messages written on cars in 2015. As Christians, we should do so much better than endorse hatred and violence towards our Jewish brothers and sisters. We should not be silent in the face of injustices. These organizations should face consequences for their actions. Calvin claims on its Diversity and Inclusion page that “[a]t Calvin, we are committed to creating an atmosphere where diversity and inclusion flourish. Our commitment includes welcoming community members from various races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, and abilities.” I urge you all as Calvin administrators to live out the commitments our university claims to make, to speak out against the antisemitism that is clearly still present on campus, and most importantly, to take action.

Thank you.