Diermeier, Wente and Churchwell send email in support of Vanderbilt Jewish community

The statement emphasizes the university’s zero-tolerance policy towards antisemitism and harassment.


Emery Little

Kirkland Hall during the fall, as photographed on Nov. 9, 2020. (Hustler Multimedia/Emery Little)

Brendan O'Reilly, Staff Writer

In a June 7 email sent at approximately 12:00 PM CDT to the Vanderbilt community, Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, Provost Susan R. Wente and Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion André Churchwell addressed the recent hate crimes toward the Jewish community around the world and in Nashville. 

According to the email, the university stated that it will be in contact with Jewish faculty, students, staff and alumni to discuss the conflict and provide support later this week.

“We met last week with representatives of Vanderbilt Hillel and the Rohr Chabad House to discuss the charged atmosphere and to reassure members of our Jewish communities that we are fully committed to their safety and well-being,” the statement reads. “We will remain in close communication with these partners and Vanderbilt’s Jewish community in the days and weeks ahead.”

Chabad Vanderbilt acknowledged Diermeier’s email in an Instagram story post shortly after the email was sent.

“Thank Chancellor Diermeier for supporting all your students and the sensitivities of all communities,” Chabad Vanderbilt stated in an Instagram story post. “We hope, pray and continue to work hard so that Vanderbilt remains a safe and inclusive space for all students, including Jewish students.”

Recent acts of antisemitism within Vanderbilt’s community are under immediate investigation, per the email. It continues on to say that any acts of harassment, violence or hatred are against Vanderbilt’s morals of equity, inclusion and diversity and will be investigated by the Equal Opportunity and Access Office.

“We have begun investigations into reports of threats and hate speech in online activity within the Vanderbilt community and will take swift action to address these issues,” the statement reads.

Diermeier, Wente and Churchwell emphasize the importance of communication when dealing with acts of violence, stating that active listening, upholding Vanderbilt’s values of equity and inclusion and treating others with respect at all times are crucial for fostering a safe space campus-wide. The email includes various resources that students and faculty can utilize when addressing, talking about or coping with the rise in hate crimes. These outlets include the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life, the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, the University Counseling Center and the Employee Assistance Program.