We are deeply troubled by words that seek to intimidate, divide, or degrade people based on their faith or country of origin. This is not who we are. Hate speech – whether shared out of ignorance, emotion or to advance an agenda – is unacceptable. It is deeply disappointing that the president of our student government or any other member of the St. Thomas community would be accused of anti-Semitic discourse.

Yesterday, the USG president sent a statement to the student body in an attempt to provide context while expressing regret and apologizing for the negative impact his words had on those who read them and members of the St. Thomas community. Further, he stated, “I stand firmly against anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, divisiveness and oppression that don’t create an inclusive campus for everyone.”

The University of St. Thomas strongly denounces the 2014 statements that have circulated on social media – and all hateful anti-Semitic, anti-Christian or anti-Muslim posts. Our Catholic intellectual tradition values the fundamental compatibility of faith and reason to foster meaningful dialogue directed toward the flourishing of human culture – culture that respects a vibrant diverse community and works toward an inclusive society.

At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the vitriolic and hateful discourse that targets young voices. Our mission is to educate students to be morally responsible leaders, who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.

In the coming days, our student body and our student government – which have focused on enhancing diversity, understanding and inclusivity on campus – will need to deliberate about their future leadership. The student government is taking this situation very seriously and is seeking input from the student body. Their governance policies have a clearly defined process when the actions of a leader are called into question. The university will respect this process.

Challenging times test the convictions of any community. It is at this time that our convictions of faith, reason, dignity and diversity provide us strength. To Jewish members of our community we extend our full support and acknowledge the pain and hurtfulness this situation has created. We embrace you and all faiths within our learning community.

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