28 Jun, 2024


28 Jun, 2024

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN)  Each of the last two years, Alpha Epsilon Pi International, the world’s leading Jewish college fraternity, has proactively reached out to administrators at more than 300 U.S. colleges and universities to offer cooperation on issues of student conduct and protecting the Jewish community. Given the dramatic increase in antisemitism and intimidation of Jewish students on campus, AEPi has again reached out to higher education professionals – well in advance of the beginning of the fall term – to provide thoughts about equitably applying student conduct rules and helping to ensure the safety and security of Jewish students.

Following are highlights from the message (the full message can be viewed here):

Protecting the Jewish Community

The need to protect Jewish students, faculty and staff will be paramount this Fall and universities should already be working with their security teams; local, state and federal law enforcement agencies; and the campus and local Jewish communities to identify and protect Jewish institutions including places of worship, Hillel and Chabad facilities and AEPi fraternity houses.

AEPi urges that all higher education institutions adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism so that conduct officers and other administrators can clearly identify and immediately quash antisemitic activities and speech. This should, in no way, be seen as an attempt to limit free speech but, rather, an attempt to limit hate speech which, we know, often leads to the ostracization of Jewish students and violence.

AEPi demands that university administrators ensure that all students and student organizations comply with university codes of conduct and the policies and procedures of the campus. This includes not allowing unregistered events, protests or illegal encampments. Universities must not be afraid to enforce their own rules.

AEPi’s Antisemitism Response Center (AEPi ARC), a partnership with ADL, is a resource to provide confidential consulting on the needs of the Jewish students that make up the campus community. Helpful resources can be found on the AEPi ARC website. AEPi will work with campus administrators throughout the year with opportunities for staff development and education. For example, last year, in the wake of the October 7 attacks and at the outset of the campus protests against Israel, AEPi hosted a webinar of campus administrators to help identify and curb antisemitic speech and activities. The fraternity will be planning more similar opportunities for university staff in the coming academic year.

Student Conduct & Student Rights

AEPi urges campus administrators to hold all individuals accountable for violations of student conduct codes. If an organization supports or endorses violations of student conduct codes, it, too, should be held liable. However, if an individual is acting outside of an organization, the individual should be responsible, not the group.

If AEPi and universities work cooperatively and transparently, corrective action can be taken in advance of a significant incident.

Similarly, AEPi believes that university police or security forces must operate with full transparency, including providing timely compliance with open records requests.

AEPi urges campus administrators to ensure that students’ rights to due process, freedoms of speech and association are not infringed but, at the same time, balancing those rights and protecting Jewish and other minority communities.

“AEPi International’s primary focus is to protect our students and help ensure their safety both in terms of their conduct as well as from antisemitic speech and actions on campus. The 2024-25 academic year will be an especially difficult one for Jewish students as, too often, campus administrators allowed Jewish students to be marginalized or terrorized. We cannot stand for that, and we will work aggressively to protect our students and the entire Jewish community,” said Rob Derdiger, AEPi’s CEO. “We want to work cooperatively with our partners in university administrations and that’s why we sent this email today, long before the start of the fall term, so we can begin putting in place policies and procedures which will protect our mutual students.”

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Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) is the world’s leading Jewish college fraternity, operating chapters on more than 150 college campuses around the world. Founded in 1913, AEPi has more than 100,000 living alumni. The fraternity’s mission – developing the future leaders of the Jewish community – is demonstrated every day through acts of brotherhood, Tzedakah (charity), social awareness and support for Jewish communities and Israel.