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Southern Cal President Answers Letter on Anti-Semitism

December 7, 2021

The president and provost of the University of Southern California have written to more than 60 faculty members who complained that the university had not spoken out about a student who said on social media, “I want to kill every motherf**cking Zionist.”

Carol L. Folt and Charles F. Zukoski wrote, “As I am sure you are aware, we are legally required to protect student privacy and cannot discuss university processes or actions with respect to a specific student, much less denounce them publicly.”

They added, “In your letter you assert that university leadership has not taken a strong position with respect to the tweets in question. We want to reassure you that nothing could be further from the truth. As you indicated in your letter, the two most troubling tweets at issue were made in May and June of 2021, and subsequently removed by the student before the start of the semester. After the tweets first came to the university’s attention over the summer, the university (as has been publicly reported) removed the student from a paid mentoring position in the Viterbi School of Engineering. Just before Thanksgiving, the deleted tweets were re-published by outside organizations, which urged supporters to protest by writing to the dean of the school, who had no control over either the original tweets or the student’s election to the student organization. Nevertheless, the Viterbi School quickly issued a public statement denouncing these hateful statements as being contrary to our university’s values … It is appalling that antisemitism continues to exist as a scourge across the nation and the world, and we will continue to work tirelessly with you and others to stamp it out.”

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