Last week, Hillel UofT experienced a significant incident of antisemitism from the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) in response to a Jewish student’s request for support of Hillel’s Kosher Forward campaign, aimed at bringing kosher food options to campus. A spokesperson for the UTGSU responded to this request by informing the student that this request didn’t align with “the will of the membership” because Hillel is pro-Israel. The UTGSU’s inability to separate the needs of Jewish students on campus from their opinion on the Jewish state was, and remains, deeply concerning and is certainly a form of antisemitism as outlined in the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
Today, representatives from Hillel UofT and Hillel Ontario met with Executive Committee members of the UTGSU to discuss this incident. The spokesperson in question issued an apology to the Jewish graduate student and to the Hillel representatives for their actions and has formally resigned from their position at the UTGSU as a result of this incident. Furthermore, there was discussion about the UTGSU and Hillel UofT co-sponsoring a workshop on antisemitism aimed at educating campus community members about hatred toward Jews and how to be true allies in the fight against it. We hope this discussion will produce positive results in the future.
Following the meeting, the UTGSU issued a formal apology addressing the antisemitic nature of their remarks and outlining steps they will take in the near future to ensure this issue does not repeat itself, including openness to working with Hillel to conduct a workshop on antisemitism for the entire campus community and a willingness to bring forward a motion to support the Kosher Forward campaign. Hillel UofT is grateful for this statement and thanks the UTGSU for taking this issue seriously.
Over the past week, countless media outlets have reported on this incident and there has been a tremendous show of support for Hillel’s Jewish campus locally and globally. Jewish students at UofT have felt this support and are better served when the Jewish community unites together to end the spread of antisemitism on campus. Hillel UofT remains committed to ensuring the safety of our students through the services we provide them every day.
For further inquiries, please contact:
Hillel at The University of Toronto