The University of Arizona administration and I have worked closely in the past weeks to begin to address critical issues in the wake of recent tragedy, when Professor Thomas Meixner was shot in the building across the street from Hillel on Yom Kippur by a known antisemite. May Dr. Meixner’s memory be a blessing, and may what we learn from his senseless murder help create a safer future.
Our joint statement with the University highlights the ways that we as a community have chosen to come together and learn from this: it calls for the establishment of an Advisory Council on Jewish Life and Antisemitism at the University of Arizona, a council that will address communications protocols, training, quality of life for Jewish students, and critical partnerships between marginalized communities on campus. We are heartened that President Robbins offered a personal apology for communications breakdowns in connection with our community, and by the University’s swift action in working with us to establish this Council and take other steps. Now we will make sure the Council has teeth and achieves results. I hope that you will read the statement in its entirety here.
In the meantime, we’ve been working closely with the Anti-Defamation League, which has publicly called for the Pima County Attorney’s office to investigate all possible motives for Dr. Meixner’s murder, including hate. We are grateful for the ADL’s support and leadership, and for answering our call for its expertise.
We strive to make all of UArizona a safe, warm, and welcoming place where Jewish students from all backgrounds can explore their identities and thrive within a broader campus ecosystem free from all types of hate. Hillel has been that safe and welcoming place for students, and we will continue to listen to students and faculty and we seek positive change.