Bradley University Brothers Fight Hate

On the morning of March 15, the AEPi house and the main quad at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois was vandalized with spray paint saying (among other things), “AEPi Supports Genocide” and “Free Palestine.”

“When I saw the pictures – almost all of the Brothers were out of town on spring break – I said to myself, ‘It’s gametime.’ I knew that we were going to respond in every way and in the best ways possible,” said chapter president Avram Bulgatz (Bradley, 2026). “They waited to do this until we weren’t here, but we knew we needed to step up in a big way and show them that we are here and not going away.”

(Check out this article in local Peoria media and the statement issued by AEPi CEO Rob Derdiger about the incident)

When the Beta Upsilon Brothers returned to campus from their break, they held a chapter meeting to discuss what had happened and what they were going to do. By then, the physical spray paint had already been removed from the building and the quad, but the psychic scars remained.

“At that chapter meeting we discussed the resources that were made available to us through AEPi International, Hillel, Chabad and the university. Counseling was available to the Brothers if they felt threatened and we were given an option to move out of the house if we didn’t feel safe,” said Brother Bulgatz.

“No one moved out.”

“For lack of a better term, the chapter was pissed off. We weren’t going to be scared or intimidated and we began making plans to respond.”

“We have a huge banner on the front of our house that says ‘AEPi Stands With Israel.’ After October 7, we tabled on the campus quad to give people real information about what is happening in Israel and Gaza. Yeah, we had some people come up to us to give us some flack – and we saw some of that on social media too – but we also had some really good conversations with some people and that was really good.”

After returning to campus, the chapter hosted an Anti-Hate Shabbat dinner in conjunction with Sigma Delta Tau sorority and Hillel. AEPi Brothers attended as did people from the Bradley Jewish community. “We had others in the Greek community – Jewish and non-Jewish – join as well as the head of Bradley’s DEI office. It was great to see.”

Last week, the chapter organized a silent march around campus to show the community the resolve of the chapter and the Bradley Jewish community. “We started at the AEPi house, went to Hillel and then walked around campus. Our Brothers all wore their letters or their ‘AEPi Stands With Israel’ shirts and most were waving Israeli flags or were wearing Israeli flags. People joined with us from the Peoria Jewish Federation, the campus Jewish community and some non-Jewish students marched with us,” said Brother Bulgatz.

“We wanted to show the campus that we remember October 7 and that we are not going to be intimidated. We are going to stand up to hate.”

“We have decided that the best way to show those who did this that we won’t back down is by getting back to life as usual,” affirmed Brother Bulgatz.

As the spring semester winds down, the chapter is currently preparing to host its 75th anniversary alumni weekend and also holding its annual parents weekend.

“We’re going to show a good face. We keep going to Chabad for Shabbat dinner and to Bagel Brunches at Hillel,” said Brother Bulgatz. “We are going to live life as usual and not be intimidated.”