Jewish students welcome at State

by Jasmine Bermudez, Senior Staff Writer

The Algemeiner, a Jewish newspaper in New York, named SDSU one of “The 40 Worst Colleges for Jewish Students in 2016” on Jan. 12.

Director of Hillel of San Diego SDSU, Jackie Tolley said that she thinks the list is unreliable.

“I think the article is absurd,” she said. “There is no credible method for generating such a list.”

Tolley said The Algemeiner’s headline is misleading.

“If you want to have a list of incidents that happened on these campuses, that is one thing,” she said. “However, putting a provocative headline saying SDSU is one of the 40 worst colleges for Jewish students is ludicrous.”

Tolley said the three pieces of evidence listed on the article are real events that happened at SDSU.

“When something happens on campus we have to deal with those issues but those isolated incidents should not be used to label a university,” she said.

The Algemeiner mentioned posters on campus that accused students of being allied with Palestinian terrorists, a failed BDS referendum and Miko Peled’s canceled lecture.  

Tolley said students have told her that the article is a real distortion of what SDSU is like for Jewish students.

“Our Jewish students thought the title of the article was ridiculous,” she said. “Our Jewish community is thriving at SDSU and these kinds of articles discourage Jewish parents and students from considering certain universities.”

Graduate student Jessica Meyer said the article was difficult to read.

“I was in shock when I saw that SDSU was on the list,” she said.

Meyer said before she came to SDSU she did not want anything to do with her Judaism.

“SDSU has helped me grow into my Judaism and to love it and be proud of it,” she said. “I wanted to be on the Jewish Student Union board for three years and do my internship at Hillel, no one forced me to do it.”

Meyer said she now teaches at a Hebrew school. She said it is something she never would have considered doing before attending SDSU.

“Being Jewish at San Diego State was the first time in my life I had ever felt comfortable and proud of being Jewish,” she said. “I felt the Jewish community was amazingly supporting and truly was my home away from home.”

Meyer said the SDSU Jewish community made a huge campus feel incredibly small and welcoming.

“Hillel and the Jewish Student Union were always open and supportive places for me,” she said. “They supported me on my journey of finding out who I was as a Jew and what being Jewish meant to me and empowered me to take control of this part of my identity and allowed me to define it for myself.”

Meyer urges people who are considering attending SDSU to talk to current SDSU Jewish students.

“Don’t go by what you read on this list,” she said. “Ask them what their experience is.”

Vice President of Social Affairs for the Jewish Student Union, Andrew Kaitcer said he believes SDSU is one of the best schools for Jewish students.

“There are many ways for Jewish students to get involved and there really is something for everyone,” he said.

He said people need to come to SDSU and see how great the environment is for themselves.

“We are so much more than those three things that were listed,” Meyer said. “Those things don’t define our community, we define it for ourselves.”