British Columbia
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The president of Simon Fraser University (SFU), a Canadian post-secondary institution with three locations in British Columbia, is reaching out to Jewish students who have experienced anti-Semitism on campus.

“Recently I met with a group of Jewish students who have experienced increasing anti-Semitism at #SFU. Their experiences were deeply upsetting,” said SFU President Joy Johnson on Twitter.

“Anti-Semitism is hate, and it is not acceptable at SFU. If you are experiencing discrimination or hate, help is available. Please reach out,” she added, tweeting the link to a statement by the university detailing “resources and supports for those experiencing anti-Semitism.”

“Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Canada and around the world. SFU is no exception to this. Jewish students on SFU campuses report an increase in anti-Semitic experiences and a decrease in their feeling of safety,” said the university in the statement.

“Anti-Semitism is hate, and it is not acceptable at SFU. Our campuses should be a place for those of all faith backgrounds and ethnicities to work and learn, without fear for their safety.”

SFU has provided a list of “resources for Jewish members of the SFU community who may be experiencing anti-Semitism or fear for their safety.”

The list of “actions and resources was developed in consultation with the SFU Multifaith Centre and Hillel BC.”

Supports and mental health resources include connecting with an SFU Multifaith Centre rabbi for a “one-on-one conversation,” meeting with a counsellor, getting critical incident support (“a traumatic event that creates a strong emotional reaction”), and connecting with Hillel BC.

Johnson’s statement reaching out to Jewish students was met with appreciation on social media, with commenters thanking her for being one of the few university presidents willing to speak out against anti-Semitism on college campuses since the May increase in attacks against Jews across North America.

Twitter user Am Chofshi wrote in response, “You are among the first university presidents in North America to acknowledge, let alone commit to addressing, #Antisemitism in #HigherEd since the latest uptick in May. Thank you for your leadership.”

In May, the Teaching Support Staff Union (TSSU) at SFU announced that a referendum calling for supporting the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement had failed.

The referendum was defeated by a vote of 227 to 186, with 32 abstaining.

The motion was one of multiple recent attempts to promote BDS at Canadian universities, including the University of Toronto (where the motion failed) and successfully passed BDS motions at Toronto’s Ryerson University, York University and the University of Windsor.