Frequently Asked Questions about Inclusion, Free Speech and Tolerance
Is FAU hospitable to Jewish students?
Yes, FAU is hospitable to its Jewish students. The University welcomes all students and condemns and prohibits any form of discrimination or harassment that is based on race, color, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin, marital status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
What does FAU do to ensure no students are targeted?
It is against University policy to harass, target or discriminate against any person or group of people. Regulation 5.010, Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment governs this policy. The policy is enforced through the Student Code of Conduct.
Monthly training sessions for students that address campus civility and differences are conducted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs. In addition, there is programming for orientation leaders and new students.
Is the University in compliance with Department of Education guidelines and policies associated with ensuring a safe and hospitable learning environment free from unlawful discrimination?
Yes. Florida Atlantic University is in full compliance with all Department of Education guidelines and all federal and state laws that relate to maintaining an educational environment free from unlawful discrimination or harassment.
Can students or the public hide behind freedom of speech on a public university campus to target other students?
No. Free speech has responsibilities associated with it and the University has guidelines for free speech zones and behavior on campus.
What is the FAU’s approach to free speech?
FAU, as a public institute of higher education, prides itself on being a venue for free speech and expression. As one of the most diverse campuses in the United States, we are proactive in seeking to maintain an atmosphere that welcomes all people and is open to vigorous intellectual debate. Student groups and faculty plan events and welcome speakers to offer their thoughts and insights on a wide variety of topics, but neither students nor their guests speak on behalf of the University.
The university’s guidelines can be found here: www.fau.edu/civility/freespeech.php
Student groups and faculty often express their opinions, but those views do not in any way reflect FAU’s endorsement or agreement with those opinions.
I’ve heard Students for Justice in Palestine have threatened Jewish students and created an anti-Semitic environment. What has the university done about it?
First and foremost, know that FAU condemns anti-Semitism and the University is a community that is welcoming to Jewish students. FAU has not received reports that Students for Justice in Palestine threatened, harassed, or targeted Jewish or Israeli students. There may not be agreement on what Students for Justice in Palestine believes or the way in which it communicates its beliefs, but their members have not threatened any students.
How does FAU encourage diversity?
FAU prides itself on being one of the most diverse campuses in America, and we strive to maintain an environment that is both welcoming and open to vigorous intellectual debate. We continuously work to educate the FAU community and address sensitive and controversial subjects.
For example, the Office of Multicultural Affairs at FAU holds monthly training sessions for students to address campus civility and differences. The sessions are co-sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and utilize their curriculum “Campus of Difference.” This training has been ongoing for five years, attended by more than 1,000 students, and required for all of FAU’s resident assistants, orientation leaders and other student leaders.
Specifically, how does FAU support its Jewish students and create an inviting environment?
We are proud to have more than 3,000 Jewish students attending FAU. Our Hillel Center occupies a prominent space on our main campus and is one of our most active student organizations.
Our Chabad Student Center is also growing and vibrant. We recently signed an agreement with the University of Haifa to create a student exchange program for our undergraduate and graduate students interested in studying in Israel. Our Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education trains educators from around Florida to teach Holocaust and genocide studies.
The FAU Foundation invests more than $2 million of our endowment annually in Israeli bonds. And thanks to the generous support of donors , our library houses three major resources dedicated to the study of Jewish culture and history: (i) the Judaica Sound Archives, a center for the collection, preservation and digitization of Judaica audio recordings and more than 30,000 musical scores from the 17th century to the present; (ii) a Yiskor Memorial Books special collection of several hundred books written after the Holocaust by survivors, to document the shtetls and their inhabitants that were destroyed by the Nazis; and (iii) our Visual History Archive, which offers online access to approximately 1,100 English-language testimony videos by Holocaust survivors and witnesses, and cataloguing and indexing data of nearly 52,000 videotaped interviews conducted with survivors and witnesses in 56 countries and 32 languages.
Within Academic Affairs, we have a number of academic programs and initiatives including:
- A Jewish Studies program, directed by Dr. Kristen Lindbeck. Dr. Frederick Greenspahn, the Gimelstob Eminient Scholar of Judaic Studies, is a faculty member in the program.
- The Center for the Study of Values and Violence after Auschwitz, directed by Dr. Alan Berger, Raddock Family Eminent Scholar Chair for Holocaust Studies.
- The Center for Holocaust and Human Rights Education in the College of Education, directed by Dr. Rose Gatens.
- The Florida-Israel Institute, in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, directed by Dr. Zvi Roth.
- The Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters regularly hosts conferences and events such as: Lessons and Legacies of the Holocaust International Conference (2010 and 2014); the Deadly Medicine Exhibit (in collaboration with College of Medicine and College of Education CHHRE) in Fall 2013; and the New Scholarship on Israel Conference in Spring 2012.
- The FAU Wimberley Library hosts an annual eight-day Kultur Festival, with the generous support of the Jewish Cultural Society.
- The Office of International Programs recently entered into an agreement of cooperation with the University of Haifa, Israel, for student and faculty exchanges, study abroad, and joint research projects.
Lastly, as you may know, our Jewish students are supported through an active Hillel Student Club and the Chabad Student Center, headed by Rabbi Liberow.
If a student feels as if they have been targeted for their religion, how should they report that to the university?
Contact the Dean of Students’ office at 561-297-3542 or the Equal Opportunity Programs office at 561-297-3004. You can also contact the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs at 561-297-3988.
Where can I find more information?
Please feel free to visit www.fau.edu/diversity.
"FAU is an incredibly diverse community with students from a wide range of backgrounds. It's a place where students can encounter a broad spectrum of new experiences, express their own opinions and see how others respond to their ideas."
– Frederick Greenspahn, Ph.D., Gimelstob Eminent Scholar in Judaic Studies
"FAU welcomes students from around the world who embrace the opportunity to engage in open dialogue with a diverse student body and faculty. FAU reflects the greater society and is in fact a global village."
– Alan Berger, Ph.D., Raddock Family Eminent Scholar, Chair for Holocaust Studies
"Jewish Life at Florida Atlantic University is alive and well."
– Matthew C. Levin, President and CEO, Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County