Vanderbilt community reacts to football assistant coach Dan Jackson’s backing of Ye’s recent comments

While Jackson continued coaching responsibilities for Saturday’s game, some Jewish student-workers did not work the game despite typically working every home game.


Arianna Santiago

Vanderbilt football vs. South Carolina, as photographed on Nov. 5, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Arianna Santiago)

Rachael Perrotta, Editor-in-Chief

UPDATED: This piece was updated on Nov. 6 at 1:40 p.m. CST to include an additional article about the incident.

Vanderbilt community members expressed concern about football assistant coach Dan Jackson’s backing of Ye’s recent comments. A source close to the matter who is being kept anonymous for protection from retribution confirmed that some Jewish student-workers did not work the Nov. 5 game against South Carolina despite typically working every home game; Jackson continued regular coaching responsibilities.

Senior Carly Stewart, Vanderbilt Hillel president, said she was “disappointed” and “hurt” by Jackson’s comments. 

“Antisemitism must be called out and condemned when it occurs,” Stewart said in a message to The Hustler. “Vanderbilt needs to make it clear that this is unacceptable on our campus.”

Vanderbilt's Tau chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity's statement regarding Dan Jackson's recent comments. (Photo courtesy of AEPi)
Vanderbilt’s Tau chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity’s statement regarding Dan Jackson’s recent comments. (Photo courtesy of AEPi)

In a statement sent to The Hustler, Vanderbilt’s Tau chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity stated that they are “troubled” by Jackson’s comments and condemned antisemitism and tolerance of such behavior.

“In the face of hate, Alpha Epsilon Pi will remain a beacon of strength and safety for the Jewish community at Vanderbilt,” the statement reads. “We call upon Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt Athletics to demonstrate increased support to Jewish people and communities on our campus.”

Tom Stephenson (JD ‘09) published an article on Nov. 4 on Anchor of Gold, condemning Jackson’s statements.

“I’m the guy around here who wants to give coaches forever on the job before I finally come around to agreeing that they should be fired, but sometimes, the offense is so fireable that termination needs to be immediate,” Stephenson writes. “This dude needs to go, and that would be true even if Vanderbilt’s defensive backs weren’t allowing an Ole Miss receiver to break records.”

Robbie Weinstein (’17), 247 Sports writer and former sports editor of The Hustler, published a column on Nov. 6 about the situation, stating that Vanderbilt administrators are to blame for allowing Jackson to coach against South Carolina and for their vague statements. He pointed to how Jackson was unavailable during the press conference and how head coach Clark Lea refused to detail the university’s handling of the situation. Weinstein added that Jackson acts as a “hypothetical role model” for players and how his lackluster performance as a coach should add to the decision-making process on Vanderbilt’s part.

“When Vanderbilt had to decide whether to remove an assistant coach from action the night before a key game with no clear replacement available, it chose not to act,” Weinstein writes. “The nation’s No. 13 university shouldn’t have someone who subscribes to West’s incoherent babble guiding high-aiming college students throughout their careers.”

Another Anchor of Gold writer who goes by the moniker Andrew VU ‘04 similarly tweeted his disapproval of antisemitic rhetoric on Nov. 4. 

“Anti-semitic conspiracy theories should have no place at Vanderbilt. It is astounding that this even needs to be said,” the tweet reads. “We know what happens when they take root.”

A Vanderbilt Athletics representative declined to comment on Jackson coaching during the South Carolina game amid concerns over his comments. Vanderbilt Chabad also declined to comment on the situation.

Ye has come under fire recently for making numerous antisemitic and otherwise discriminatory comments. Jackson commented on a now-deleted Facebook post that Ye is “two steps ahead of everyone” and that people need “wake up,” speak their mind and think for themselves, as he claims Ye does. The comment was posted by StopAntisemitism, a non-profit watchdog organization that aims to expose antisemitism. 

Jackson released an apology on his Twitter on Nov. 4. Athletic director Candice Lee and head coach Clark Lea released a joint statement about the situation shortly after Jackson’s apology. In a Nov. 5 statement to The Hustler, the university added that the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has been in contact with Jewish leaders regarding the incident.

“While individual views expressed by faculty, staff, or students do not represent the university, we take seriously any actions that appear inconsistent with our commitment to a welcoming environment for all,” the statement reads. “Vanderbilt University has worked, and continues to work, to foster an environment in which differences are respected and all members of our community feel equal, valued and included.”

Jackson joined Vanderbilt’s football coaching staff this season as the defensive backs coach. The team’s defensive back unit ranks 130th out of 131 FBS schools in passing yards allowed in 2022.