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Columbia U Revised Statement in Response to Tree of Life Shooting

October 31, 2018
 
 

Columbia University revised its statement in response to the Saturday shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people after an alumnus pointed out the absence of “Jews” or “anti-Semitism” in the university's statement.

The original statement, published in the Jewish Journal, included mentions of faith and identity but did not mention Jews, Judaism or anti-Semitism specifically.

“We are deeply saddened by the senseless violence at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday morning. Violence in our nation’s houses of worship is an affront to the freedoms our community holds dear. We stand strongly against these efforts to create fear and terror,” the original statement read. “For some in our community, this is a particularly frightening time as we have seen a growing number of highly visible attacks directed at faith and identity -- on worshippers and people of faith as they go through their daily lives, on groups gathered to celebrate an LGBT Latin night at Pulse Nightclub, on civil rights and anti-racist protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, and in so many other places, as occurred in last Wednesday’s shooting of two African-American shoppers in Kentucky.”

Zachary Neugut, a Columbia University alumnus, criticized the statement on Twitter on Sunday evening.

“Classic @Columbia to send an email about the #TreeOfLifeSynagogue shooting and mention anti-LGBT and anti-black hatred but not anti-Semitism,” he tweeted. “The world has gone mad, I'm embarrassed today to call myself an alumnus & regret having donated to @CC_Columbia this year. #Columbia”

Neugut tweeted on Monday that the university had reached out to apologize to him and revised their statement.

Below is the university’s revised statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the horrific antisemitic attack on Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue on Saturday morning. Violence in our nation’s houses of worship is an affront to the freedoms our community holds dear. We stand strongly against yesterday’s violent attack on the Jewish community and against other efforts to create fear and terror.

“For some in our community, this is a particularly frightening time as we have seen a growing number of highly visible attacks directed at faith and identity -- on worshippers and people of faith as they go through their daily lives, on groups gathered to celebrate an LGBT Latin night at Pulse Nightclub, on civil rights and anti-racist protesters in the streets of Charlottesville, and in so many other places, as occurred in last Wednesday's shooting of two African-American shoppers in Kentucky. Please know that you are not alone, and that you are a part of this community founded on the fundamental dignity and worth of all.”

Columbia University declined to comment on the record about the change.

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