Letter: Shillman vandalism is anti-semetic

A group of radical students, some whom are members of the organization Students for Justice in Palestine at Northeastern, have sought to divide and misinform the campus community by defacing university property. One incident that needs to be adequately addressed is the targeting of the statue of Northeastern University’s beloved and loyal benefactor, Robert J. Shillman, an alumnus who has contributed significant amounts of resources and patronage to our institution.  These radical students posted stickers on the Shillman statue, stating, “Zionism is Racism,” among other absurdly false statements. These stickers do more to incite hate and deceit about the issues than to engage in a meaningful discussion and consensus. The recent vandalism, disrespect and blatant libel against Zionism and the State of Israel has brought to light, again, the sincere presence of a moral and intellectual crisis on Northeastern’s campus.

This incident is grave for several reasons. First, I believe the statue of Shillman was intentionally targeted given his devout Jewish faith. Let us remember what resulted the last time the Jewish people were specifically targeted for their culture and faith. Second, this action reflects poorly on all the students here at Northeastern. Is this how we are to thank Mr. Shillman’s generous patronage throughout the decades, whether through financial support, or through assisting in fostering meaningful and workable global partnerships that benefit us all as students through expanded opportunities? Lastly, this event shows the willingness of some students to do anything possible, whether true or false, to damage the state of Israel, and the Jewish people’s aspirations to self-determination. Some wish to incite hatred toward Israel’s supporters and citizens. In other words, this is anti-Semitism. This is not only intellectually corrupt, but demonstrates a lack of character and moral sincerity most Northeastern students typically tend to espouse.

Is this a crisis reflective of the actual beliefs and behavior of all the Huskies on campus? No, but this disruptive group of individuals certainly embarrasses us all as students who attend the university. Northeastern has long prided itself on being a tolerant campus, where students with varied backgrounds, religions and personal beliefs can express their views without fear of being threatened or intimidated in any way as a result of those beliefs – that includes our university’s benefactors who have done nothing but seek to provide for us and our future careers. I call upon all my fellow moderate, tolerant, consensus and peace-seeking fellow peers and faculty at Northeastern to condemn these violent and blatantly destructive acts on campus. Especially those targeted toward Mr. Shillman, and demand that these students commit to the follow actions:

Remove all these divisive and hate-inducing materials posted on campus. Promise to engage the campus in more productive ways in future. Apologize for their blatant disregard to proper and honorable conduct of a typical Northeastern Student.

– Andrew Melillo is a senior political science and Middle East Studies major.