Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard is forming a task force after several anti-Semitic incidents involving students at the Bellingham school.
Western Washington University, where profanity-laced threats aimed at the college’s black students rocked the campus late last year, is forming a task force after several incidents officials have determined to be anti-Semitic.
The Bellingham university is releasing few details about the incidents, which occurred earlier this year, other than to say that there was no specific threat of harm to anyone.
Paul Cocke, the university’s spokesman, said the incidents were investigated by the school’s Equal Opportunity Office. “These matters are confidential, which respects the privacy of those involved,” he said by email.
In a message to WWU faculty, students and staff Monday, President Bruce Shepard wrote that “last quarter the ugliness of anti-Semitism appeared on campus, just as it is occurring across our country.”
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He said the Equal Opportunity Office investigated “and three of the four cases were found to constitute prohibited discrimination. These incidents, like the racially motived threat last fall that we are all aware of, or other acts of hatred directed at races, nationalities, religions, gender identities, sexual orientation, veterans or for those of disabilities are unequivocally wrong.”
In November, WWU classes were suspended for a day after the threats against black students. One Western student was arrested and charged with malicious harassment.
In his message, Shepard said the task force would “recommend ways to educate and help people better understand the impact of anti-Semitic actions.” The task force is to work with another task force, on equity, inclusion and diversity, which will be making a series of recommendations to address discrimination on campus.
Cocke said the university may invite speakers, hold workshops or host other awareness events “that aim to further dialogue and understanding of this important issue.”