University: Woman admits handing out anti-Semitic Valentine's Da - WNEM TV 5

University: Woman admits handing out anti-Semitic Valentine's Day card

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Source: Madison Rodriguez Source: Madison Rodriguez
MT. PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -

A Valentine’s Day card with an anti-Semitic message was allegedly passed out Wednesday to several students at Central Michigan University.

Madison Rodriguez, president of the Organization of Women Leaders, said a member of her executive board was given the valentine inside a gift basket before an OWL meeting.

The card shows an image of Adolf Hitler with a Valentine’s Day-style pun reading “my love 4 u burns like 6,000 jews.”

Rodriguez said the card was allegedly handed out by the CMU College Republicans. The university investigated the card and discovered it was created by a young woman who was not a CMU student.

The group posted a statement on Facebook about the incident:

Students from Central Michigan Action held an anti-hate speech rally at noon on Thursday outside the Fabiano Botanical Garden.

The card was a source of pain for Jewish student Alison Zywicki.

"Seeing it over social media, having someone point it out to us like I received this, causes pain," Zywicki said.

Hadley Platek, student, has visited the Yad Vashem in Israel. It is the country's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Platek said she is disappointed such a hateful message made its way onto campus.

"I didn't think that this would come from our community," Platek said.

A spokesperson for the university said there is an “internal meeting” of university and student leaders to discuss the incident.

"Their investigation was initiated immediately under the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity. The police department was also contacted. The district attorney from the city of Mount Pleasant was also contacted and the investigation is ongoing," said Carolyn Dunn, university spokesperson.

Dunn said the words on the card do not reflect what the Chippewa community stands for.

"We are an institution of higher learning and what we do is important here. We are educating leaders and this is not something that we want out leaders espousing," Dunn said.

Katherine Lasher, executive director of the Office of Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, said a young woman who is not a CMU student admitted to creating the card.

Lasher said the College Republican at CMU was unaware of the card.

"The grossly offensive action of one individual, a nonstudent, has deeply distressed our campus community and others across the nation," President George E. Ross said. "With heavy hearts and great embarrassment, we apologize. To those of Jewish descent, rest assured that we stand with you and vow to continue the effort to educate others."

The university said they will continue to educate student organizations on why such behavior is unacceptable.

As for Zywicki, she said she won't let the hateful message effect her.

"We're not going to stop who we are. We're still going to be proud to be Jewish," she said.

CMU President George E. Ross has released the following statement on the incident:

We are deeply disappointed by last night's situation with a Valentine card containing an inappropriate sentiment that was produced during a student organization meeting. This is not who we are as a campus community. 

Such hurtful, offensive language, while protected by the First Amendment, is unacceptable and is not consistent with our values and standards.

Leaders from the president's and provost's offices, Office for Civil Rights and Institutional Equity, Office of Institutional Diversity, Student Affairs, Student Activities and Involvement, and the CMU Police Department met first thing this morning to review the situation and determine next steps. OCRIE has launched a formal inquiry, and OID will develop additional educational efforts for the campus community.

We caution against concluding that the action is representative of the entire student organization or its members and remind all that threatening others as a result of such an incident can have legal consequences. 

We once again urge each of our students, faculty and staff to be beacons of peace, respect, inclusivity and civility — to be role models of integrity, dignity and leadership.

At Central Michigan University, we stand up against hate, protect the safety of all, and build bridges of understanding that bring people together.

Sincerely, 

CMU President George E. Ross

Meantime, the Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging the university to expel the student who inserted the Valentine's Day cards into the packages.

“It’s not enough that the Republican club has apologized. The bigot or bigots who produced and distributed the hatred across the campus mocking the 6 million Jews murdered during the Nazi Holocaust should be expelled”, said Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, Dean and Founder and Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights NGO dedicated to teaching the lessons of the Holocaust.

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