Dear Friends of San Francisco Hillel,
An unfortunate and embarrassing incident happened today on SF State's campus.
A high profile political figure was shouted down and prevented from speaking. Many students came to hear Jerusalem Mayor Nir Birkat, as they had previously for other Hillel speakers this year representing a wide array of views. But a small group of hecklers came today solely to prevent the campus community from hearing a viewpoint they did not like. Unfortunately they succeeded.
There is a concerning trend that college campuses are not spaces where diverse viewpoints are tolerated. Recently, we have seen acts of outright hostility and physical aggression when one person did not agree with the views of another on campus.
We've tried incredibly hard at SF Hillel to be a responsible partner on campus for civil discourse, and to contribute to a more positive environment for dialogue, tolerance and education. Today's disappointing events demonstrate that one party alone cannot effect change; it requires the commitment of the entire University community to create a diverse place of learning that is tolerant, respectful and dedicated to its academic mission.
We are working with our partners on and off campus, and will provide further updates in the coming days and weeks. We will ensure that campus continues to be a space that promotes the robust exchange of ideas.
We are once again proud of our Hillel students who were not intimidated by today's interruptions. Even though the Mayor could not continue his public remarks, many Hillel students stayed to learn from Mayor Barkat in a smaller group, and to ask him their earnest and challenging questions, over the shouts of those who tried to silence them.
San Francisco Hillel