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University of California Santa Barbara Says Campus is ‘Distressed’ By Antisemitic Harassment

Fourth-year University of California Santa Barbara student Tessa Veksler.

University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) has issued a statement condemning the antisemitic harassment of its Jewish student body president, Tessa Veksler, while reports emerged on social media that a school official who engaged in antisemitic conduct in the building where Veksler was harassed has been terminated.

“The campus was distressed to learn of incidents over the weekend that included offensive social media message and signage on one of our buildings,” a university spokesperson told The Algemeiner in a statement. “The signage has been removed and campus is conducting a bias incident review based on potential discrimination related to protected categories that include religion, citizenship, and or ethnic origin.”

The spokesperson added, “The posting of such messages is a violation of our principles of community and inclusion.”

As The Algemeiner previously reported, UCSB Student Association president Tessa Veksler discovered in the school’s multicultural center over a dozen messages, written on placards, which said, “resistance is justified,” “you can run but you can’t hide Tessa Veksler,” and “get these Zionists out of office.” In marker, someone else graffitied “Zionist not allowed” on the door, just inches away from a mezuzah.

Tessa Veksler is a fourth year political science major who was elected in April 2023 as president of UCSB Associated Students (AS), making history by becoming the school’s first ever Shabbat observant student body president. At the time, she told The Algemeiner that becoming president was always a “far-distant” goal of hers.

On Wednesday, StopAntisemitism, an antisemitism watchdog, reported that Micky Brown, a multicultural center employee who once used the center’s social media account to say that Jews should “go back to Poland,” is no longer employed by the university. Additionally, “all near feature events” the multicultural center planned to hold this semester are canceled, StopAntisemitism added.

The harassment to which Tessa Veksler was subjected prompted reactions across social media. Jewish community leaders, as well as her friends, denounced the conduct and noted that it is representative of the experiences of Jewish college students throughout the country.

“No one deserves this kind of harassment and hate. When will California leaders address the antisemitic rot sweeping their public universities?” Jacob Baime, executive director of Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) told The Algemeiner in a statement.

US colleges and universities have experienced an alarming spike in antisemitic incidents — including demonstrations calling for Israel’s destruction and the intimidation and harassment of Jewish students — since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

In its statement, University of California-Santa Barbara said it is “committed to thoroughly reviewing and addressing all reported bias incidents.”

https://www.algemeiner.com/2024/02/28/university-of-california-santa-barbara-says-campus-is-distressed-by-antisemitic-harassment/