Massachusetts, USA – A high school basketball game was marred by anti-Semitic epithets being shouted. Catholic Memorial School and Newton North High School played a basketball game Friday night in the suburbs of Boston, but it seems the game was anything but sportsmanlike.
“You killed Jesus!” shouted about 50 to 75 Catholic Memorial students, according to the Boston Globe.
After hearing the mean-spirited taunts, the Newton North students fell silent with looks of surprise and anger overtaking their faces.
“I found it chilling,” Newton superintendent David Fleishman, who arrived at the game, which was held at Newton South High School, about 20 minutes late.
Fleishman said he was immediately approached by a visibly disturbed parent who told him she was shaken.
“In my mind, this is incredibly upsetting and troubling, and they have a lot of work to do at Catholic Memorial,” he said.
Fleishman contacted the Anti-Defemation League about the issue, and told the Globe that Newton students would discuss the incident at school Monday.
The president of Catholic Memorial issued a statement Saturday condemning the “abhorrent behavior” of his students and promising to work toward ending it.
“Catholic Memorial School is deeply disturbed by the behavior of a group of student spectators who made an unacceptable chant Friday night while playing Newton North High School,” he said.
The president went on to clarify that faculty and staff “acted immediately” to end the racist chants, adding that Catholic Memorial pupils were reprimanded and each student was required to personally apologize to the Newton North principle.
Fleishman confirmed that the moment the anti-Jewish chants were heard, Catholic Memorial administration moved in to stop it.
Doug Haslam, the father of one Newton North senior, said he has been attending games for years and has frequently heard anti-Jewish chants. However, he said he had never heard chants about killing Jesus until Friday.
“There’s a lot of rowdy, rambunctious, probably crude and obnoxious chants, but there’s usually a line, and students rarely cross it,” he said. “When they do, there are repercussions.”
Anti-Semitism has been a concern for Newton North recently, as three cases of anti-Jewish graffiti were reported in recent months at F.A. Day Middle School. One of those incidents results in “Burn the Jews” being emblazoned across the wall of the boys bathroom.
Boston, Massachusetts – Two Jewish Wheelock College professors have filed federal workplace discrimination complaints against the school alleging they were subjected to anti-Semitic discrimination that damaged their reputation and careers.
Professors Eric Silverman and Gail Dines allege that Wheelock president Jackie Jenkins-Scott and other administrators made their work lives miserable after the professors spoke out about a lack of Jewish perspective on campus, according to copies of the complaints filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They are seeking unspecified damages as well as attorneys’ fees.
The professors said the actions of Jenkins-Scott and the others have created a fear of speaking out on campus.
“People are scared to speak about anything because they’ve seen what’s happened to Eric and I, and they don’t want to be next,” said Dines, a tenured professor of sociology and women’s studies professor and chairwoman of American studies at Wheelock since 1986.
Wheelock officials said the claims are “without merit.”
The complaints are the latest trouble for the school which specializes in social work, early childhood education and social justice.
The college, which has 811 undergraduates this year, is struggling financially and has seen an exodus of top and mid-level administrators in the past year. Jenkins-Scott plans to leave at the end of the year and a search is underway to replace her.
According to the EEOC complaints, the discrimination began after Dines, Silverman, and four of her professors wrote a letter in 2014 expressing concern about a lack of inclusion of Jewish perspectives on the campus.
Jenkins-Scott and several other administrators reacted with “fury and retaliation” that culminated in false accusations of racism against Silverman that were disseminated widely across campus, according to Silverman’s 40-page complaint.
The accusations were worsened by an external diversity consultant whom Wheelock hired to conduct a campus climate survey, according to the complaint.
Instead of helping matters, the consultant allegedly acted as an “enforcer” and further retaliated against Silverman by persuading the president to instigate an external investigation into his conduct and spread “hearsay and unsubstantiated random data” about him, the complaint said.
Dinses’s 31-page complaint contains some allegations similar to Silverman’s as well as others unique to her, including one about a student who allegedly complained that Dines was racist and sexist.
According to the complaint, administrators confronted Dines with the complaint but could not offer proof it was real.
School officials last week in a prepared statement said the college is committed to providing a diverse workplace free of discrimination and is prepared to defend Wheelock against the claims.
“Although Wheelock does not comment on the particulars of personnel disputes or litigation, it disagrees strongly with the allegations made in the actions recently filed against the college,” said the statement, e-mailed by Marta Rosa, senior executive director of the department of governmental and external affairs and chief diversity officer.
Silverman’s complaint describes how he was allegedly blocked from applying to several administrative positions and how he was accused of using racist language in the classroom, which the professor denies.
Both professors, who practice Judaism and explore it academically, said they felt slighted when administrators did not consult them about a performance about diversity, the Black-Jew Dialogues, that came to campus.
Silverman in a phone interview Tuesday said there is not one incident that he pegs as the worst. The worst part, he said, was that there were so many incidents.
“It was just the sort of ongoing pattern that was horrifying. It sort of took my breath away,” said Silverman, a tenured professor of American studies and psychology and human development who has taught at the school since 2006.
Silverman said the alleged discrimination damages the school’s mission of social justice.
“The college is not living up to its reputation and it’s not living up to its core ethical values,” he said.