Further to my previous column, “Anti-Semitism at Florida State University,” David Templer advised his mailing list that he received two letters in response to his original email.
First he received a letter from Malenie Annis at the FSU Hillel, as follows:
From: Melanie Annis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: June 24, 2014, 7:31:05 PM EDT
Subject: Jewish holy days at FSU
I would appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about the very positive and inclusive atmosphere for Jewish students at Florida State University. Yes, there has been this terrible affront by scheduling Parents Weekend on the weekend of Yom Kippur. I’ll be happy to share with you some of the decisions that went into making that choice. It was not an easy decision that was made.
That being said, Florida State University is a welcoming and inclusive, pluralistic environment. I would hope we have the opportunity to talk about it and the accommodations made for all religiously observance students at FSU.
Please call me at either of the phone numbers below.
Hillel at FSU
834 W. St. Augustine Street, #2
Tallahassee, FL 32304
He also received a letter from the FSU Vice President of Student Affairs, which was the exact same response that I received, as follows:
From: Coburn, Mary [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 5:44 PM
To: David Templer
Cc: Stokes, Garnett S.; Maryanski, Liz; Jennings Jr, Thomas
Subject: RE: reply
Dear Mr. Templer:
Thank you for your email concerning Parents Weekend 2014. The decision on when to hold Parents Weekend is restricted by many factors, some of which are beyond our control. The football schedule is determined by the ACC conference and the availability of game tickets is determined by market demand. We will have no “single game tickets” – in other words beyond season tickets – for families to purchase for the Clemson, Notre Dame and Florida games. We also know that families prefer us to hold the weekends in October – not too early and not too close the Thanksgiving.
When we realized that the only option that we really had for Parents Weekend on a football weekend coincided with Yom Kippur, I immediately consulted with our FSU Hillel leadership. Together, we came up with the idea of holding a second family weekend on a non-football weekend for all families who are not able to attend on October 3-4. We do this in the spring with three different weekends designated as “Family Weekends” so families can visit on the one that best suits their schedule. So as you can see on this website: http://pw.union.fsu.edu/ we will have two Parent Weekends this fall, the October 3-4 weekend and October 24-25 weekend. For families that wish to attend a different football weekend, of course that is always an option.
I sincerely regret that one of the weekends does coincide with Yom Kippur this year. It will not happen again.
Mary B. Coburn
Vice President for Student Affairs
313 Westcott Building
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1340
David then circulated the following email, which he gave me permission to reprint, as follows:
Some of you have asked about whether I got a response regarding yesterdays email to Dr. Stokes. My original email is at the bottom of this page and the (promptly received) responses are above that. I think the responses were sincere and clear. I don’t believe there was any malice in the scheduling but I don’t think I am naïve to believe that a better solution could have been accomplished. I am not convinced it amounts to anti-semitism but I still do feel that it was insensitive and exclusionary.
Maybe this was a screw up by the ACC conference and it is the ACC conference that should be castigated. I say that because I happened to look up the dates for Good (Holy) Friday and Easter Sunday to see how and whether they coincide with March Madness Basketball championship. You will not be surprised to know that Good (Holy) Friday is on April 3 and Easter Sunday is April 5 (2015). The NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Championship in Indianapolis is scheduled for April 4 and April 6 (2015). It is rather obvious that someone responsible for the scheduling was sensitive to the religious tradition of the gentiles.
There is a lesson here in tolerance and respect.
David L. Templer
Templer & Hirsch
20801 Biscayne Blvd., Ste. 400
Aventura, FL 33180
The bold print emphasis in David’s email is mine, and I did so to make a point.
A reader posted the following comment on my previous blog, stating:
Did it not occur to anyone to ask them why they did this rather than say FSU is “anti-semetic”? I am tired, so very, very tired of the name calling that goes on in the when someone is upset about one thing or another. Why does everyone assume a motive?
To which I am compelled to respond:
Oh, darn that you’re so “very, very tired of the name calling.” However, calling out those who practice discrimination, whether deliberate, inadvertent or by omission, is hardly “name calling.” Perhaps if Parents Weekend were scheduled for Good Friday through Easter Sunday, you might see it from a different perspective.
I am not a religious Jew. However, one does not need to be Orthodox to speak out against the very religious insensitivity that David mentions in his letters.
FSU might not have set out to discriminate against Jews, but the fact that no one in the ACC or at FSU had the common sense to look at a calendar when planning a schedule a year in advance is beyond all reason. The Jewish population in Florida is fairly large. This is not Idaho or Wyoming! You’d think someone would have a little common sense.
The Jews of Nazi Germany went meekly and silently into the freight cars because they could not begin to imagine the unimaginable. What probably began as religious “insensitivity” in January of 1933, eventually resulted in the Holocaust during the course of a twelve year period until World War II officially ended on May 8, 1945.
The incomprehensible evil of which humans are capable is no longer unimaginable.
If we as a civilization have learned nothing in the almost sixty years since six million Jews were systematically murdered at the hands of barbarians for the “crime” of being Jewish, what does that say about us?
If there is intolerance of any kind, against anyone, for any reason whatsoever, be it insensitivity or outright discrimination, I will always call it out.
Even if I am the lone voice, I WILL NOT BE SILENT.
And I make absolutely no apologies for that.
“Spreading the Wealth”