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Emerson College probing alleged antisemitic behavior in classroom

Emerson Collegephoto/Matt Kalinowski

Emerson College officials are investigating a report of antisemitic behavior in a classroom, interim president William P. Gilligan said in a message this week to the school community.

Gilligan’s message, which Emerson tweeted out Thursday, was posted to the school website Tuesday, according to a time stamp on the site.

Gilligan said in the note that school officials on Friday “became aware of a social media post reporting antisemitic behavior in a classroom. The report is currently being addressed by the relevant College offices charged with responding to such incidents.”

He did not provide details of the behavior but said acts of bigotry aren’t tolerated on campus.

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“Antisemitism and other forms of hate and intolerance violate Emerson’s stated values of inclusiveness and equal treatment,” Gilligan said. “The College is committed to addressing any reports of antisemitism, as well as other forms of racism and oppression. Rest assured we acknowledge that any behavior that is insensitive to, or belittles, the trauma experienced by Jewish individuals and others during the Holocaust is unacceptable.”

The announcement from Emerson follows an earlier case in October at Northeastern, where a sacred Jewish symbol known as a mezuzah was torn from the main entrance of a university Hillel House near the Boston campus.

Northeastern president Joseph E. Aoun said at the time of the October vandalism that the “despicable act” had greatly distressed members of the university’s Jewish community.

“They are experiencing firsthand an instance of senseless hate, coming at a time when the ancient scourge of anti-Semitism is on the rise across the US and around the world,” Aoun said at the time. “We must respond first with compassion and empathy. We must offer an endless well of support, standing in unity with our Jewish classmates, colleagues, and friends.”


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.