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Jewish Student Alleges Fraternity Used Nazi Salute

April 15, 2021

A Jewish student at the University of Kentucky reported that his fellow fraternity members used a Nazi salute and continued to do so after he said he was Jewish, according to The Lexington Herald-Leader.

The student anonymously disclosed the incident on a popular Instagram account, @jewishoncampus, where Jewish students nationwide share stories of anti-Semitic incidents on their college campuses. The student did not name the fraternity. He wrote that members initially jokingly used a military salute aimed at a fellow fraternity member who was part of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program, but they “quickly turned those salutes into Nazi salutes.”

“I always noticeably wear my Star of David necklace, and even have a tattoo in Hebrew,” the anonymous student wrote. “After telling them I was actually Jewish, they continued to do it even more, laughing about it.”

Kentucky Hillel, a religious and social organization for Jewish students on campus, called the incident “abhorrent” and said they were in contact with the student who reported it, according to a comment posted by the organization on Instagram.

The university’s Interfraternity Council also condemned the fraternity’s actions and said in a statement that council leaders “are absolutely disgusted and upset by the behaviors.”

Jay Blanton, UK’s chief spokesperson, echoed this sentiment in an emailed statement and said the Jewish student’s report was sent to the Office of Student Conduct for review.

“We take this issue very seriously,” Blanton said. “The behavior described is antithetical to our values. In addition, leaders in our Jewish studies program and Jewish student life -- along with faculty, staff and students on campus and in the community -- are working together to provide education that will combat the ignorance that is at the root of such abhorrent behavior.”

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Greta Anderson

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