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'Hoosiers are better than this': IU condemns anti-Semitic post on Greekrank



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An anti-Semitic post appeared Aug. 29 on Greekrank, a website that usually contains reviews of greek life houses and members.  Buy Photos

University officials released a statement Tuesday denouncing a now-deleted online post that stereotyped IU's Jewish community and said the group is overtaking campus.

"The language used by these anonymous posters is hurtful and offensive," the IU statement said. "Hoosiers are better than this."

The anti-Semitic post appeared Aug. 29 on a website called Greekrank, which usually contains reviews of universities’ greek houses and their members. It was credited to an anonymous user known only by the screen name OKAYY and contained multiple grammatical errors as well as censorship.

“OMG so first of all I don't want to sound racist or anything.. but like wtf why are there so many jews here at IU now wat happened?” the post said. “where being takin over by a bunch of hairy stink rude obnoxious jews... the girls acts so damn exclusive and if ur not jewish u can't hang out with them or even talk to them.. they give us looks like were below them and not worthy of talking too...this must end or this school is gonna go to ****!” 

Although this post is now gone from Greekrank, another anti-Semitic post using a slur remains up as of Tuesday.

These online attacks aren't the only recent anti-Semitism central Indiana has seen this summer: At the end of July, a Carmel synagogue was graffitied with Nazi flags and Iron Crosses.

However, Hillel rabbi Sue Silberberg said diversity is normally supported at IU, and she’s never seen anything like this in her 29 years with the University.

“To read it, it’s sad those thoughts are out there,” Silberberg said. “It’s different, and it’s something that you don’t expect – or I don’t expect.” 

Silberberg said students reached out to her about the post after it appeared on the Tab IU’s Instagram story. She then began to meet with University leaders to address the problem. 

Officials also met with students Friday at Hillel, which Silberberg said showed support for the Jewish community and reinforced IU's commitment to learning and diversity.

“They're very upset and take it very, very seriously, and that's been very comforting for the students," Silberberg said.

IU’s Panhellenic Association and Interfraternity Council could not be reached for comment, but Pi Lambda Phi, which runs on a mission to eliminate prejudice, came out with its own statement Friday. The statement criticized the Greekrank post and said it didn't represent the larger greek community.

Many of the brothers come from diverse backgrounds, said senior Ben Axelrod, who is a founding father of PiLam’s IU chapter and Jewish himself. The Greekrank post showed him the fraternity needs to continue to combat prejudice.

Axelrod added that statements against Jewish people are uncommon at IU, but seeing the Greekrank post was a reminder that the sentiment is always there under the surface.

"I felt kind of taken aback, a little uncomfortable," Axelrod said.

Ariel Shoffet, a junior and member of Sigma Delta Tau, a sorority that is historically Jewish but has no religious requirement, said she first noticed the post from a classmate watching the Tab’s Instagram story. She immediately pulled up the Greekrank website on her laptop to see the post for herself.

“Honestly, I felt sick,” Shoffet said. “I literally thought I was going to cry or throw up.”

One of the most frustrating parts for Shoffet is she doesn't know the name of the individual who posted on Greekrank and caused the problem, she said. It makes it almost impossible for any direct action to be taken.

"I hope everything that comes out of this grabs that person's attention and makes them realize what they did wasn't OK in any way," Shoffet said.

Shoffet said this isn’t the first time she has experienced anti-Semitism at IU.

A student on her floor freshman year fashioned a swastika on his fridge out of B-Town Menus magnets and posted a photo to Snapchat, Shoffet said. The student said the symbol was just a pinwheel and told Shoffet it was just a joke when she tried to explain his actions were offensive. She said he left the photo up for a few hours before finally taking it down.

Another time, a girl Shoffet said she knew had a swastika drawn on the whiteboard outside her dorm room.

Despite these previous experiences, Shoffet said it was shocking to see such blatant anti-Semitism in the Greekrank post, especially because Shoffet said she generally feels safe on campus. She said it seemed like the IU community usually respects and promotes people of diverse backgrounds.

With the help of friends, Shoffet began to reach out to the University, Jewish studies department and Hillel to alert them of the post. She said she also filed an incident bias report with the University as well as another report through the Anti-Defamation League.

She said discrimination isn’t an everyday worry, but little incidents remind her anti-Semitism still exists. 

“It kind of comes up randomly when you’re least expecting it,” Shoffet said.

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