We are group of Brandeis University students and alumni. We are calling on Brandeis Hillel to stand against Hillel International’s endorsement of Donald Trump’s nomination of Kenneth Marcus as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education.
We are outraged that Hillel International prioritizes opposing BDS over protecting survivors of sexual violence. We as a diverse group of students, with diverse perspectives on BDS, have no intention to make a statement on BDS or Israel. Rather, we are horrified that Hillel International has endorsed a vocal antagonist of survivors’ rights to pursue justice.
In his confirmation hearing before the Senate panel, Marcus expressed his support for Secretary of Education DeVos’ decision to rescind federal guidelines that support survivors of campus sexual assault. Those guidelines discouraged universities from allowing accused perpetrators from cross-examining their survivors. The guidelines also discouraged universities from pressuring survivors to resolve their issues with their perpetrators through face-to-face mediation. These guidelines made it easier for survivors to report abuse. Rescindication of Title IX absolves entirely universities of their responsibilities to survivors.
Students of all backgrounds on college campuses are at risk of sexual violence. Therefore, Marcus’s appointment not only affects Jewish students, but everyone on every college campus. No student is safe when university institutions do not take adequate steps to prosecute abusers.
Those of us who are Jewish students on campus are particularly disheartened by this endorsement. With this endorsement Hillel undermines protections granted by Title IX, jeopardizing its reputation as a welcoming and safe space for students on campus. We demand that Hillel at Brandeis make a public statement in opposition to Hillel International’s endorsement of Kenneth Marcus.