Adopts IHRA definition; 7 students testify
By Shiryn Ghermezian
(JNS) The student government at the University of Texas at Austin unanimously passed a resolution March 9 urging the school to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
Resolution A.R. 09 calls on UT’s student government to do three things: commit to better address anti-Jewish sentiments on campus; adopt the IHRA definition for antisemitism; and issue “a pledge of support for better Jewish inclusion and protection.”
The resolution was penned by UT student Jordan Cope.
University enrollment exceeds 50,000 students, with Jewish students making up around 7% of the UT undergraduate body.
“The unanimous passage of A.R. 09 is a victory for the greater American Jewish community as it is for that of our campus, especially given the size of our university student population,” Cope told JNS. “Such passage has emboldened the legitimacy of the IHRA definition, and we hope that it will inspire Jewish students to more proactively define, confront and raise awareness of antisemitism in their communities.”
Cope said the resolution was inspired by recent incidents of antisemitism on the UT campus, including antisemitic vandalism targeting Texas Hillel and the largely Jewish fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, and Twitter posts by a former UT adjunct who went on a tirade against Jews and wished for all Israelis to “die.”
Seven Jewish students testified in front of the student government regarding personal encounters with antisemitism.
Cope noted that “while the university has been quick to address other forms of hatred, regardless of whether it actually occurred on campus, it has neglected incidents that targeted its Jewish students. It is an unfortunate double standard that we, Jewish students, have sought to address previously through petitioning, and now, through this legislation.”
Texas Hillel said in a statement after the resolution was passed that it “looks forward to partnering with our student leaders to promote an inclusive and welcoming campus environment and to help ensure that anti-Semitism has no place” on the UT campus.