Penn State leaders: Hateful behavior is unacceptable

November 13, 2013 

It goes without saying, but saying it is important all the same.

The recent hateful and offensive anti-Semitic vandalism directed at Beta Sigma Beta fraternity is unacceptable in our community and should be unacceptable anywhere.

Hateful behavior that feeds anxiety and division among us simply must not stand.

We are confident that the local police and university administrators responsible for investigating this matter will continue to do all they can to discover the individuals responsible.

Appropriate and effective accountability is our hope. But while we await that outcome, there are things all of us can do.

We might, for instance, take this moment to reflect on the value of free and equal citizenship in our community. We might better appreciate the importance of mutual respect and civility in a community dependent on an engaged citizenry.

All of us rely on one another, after all, and we must treat one another with the care and consideration a successful community requires and expects.

Regardless what may have led to these offensive acts, the men of Beta Sigma Beta require our support, as do other members of our Jewish community who, understandably, may be disquieted by this occurrence.

Beta Sigma Beta originated as the Alpha Chapter of Beta Samach, a Jewish fraternity founded by four students more than 100 years ago at Cornell University after they were denied fraternity membership because of their religion.

Much has changed in the century since that founding, and much of that change — elsewhere and at Penn State — has advanced the value of free and equal citizenship among us.

But misunderstanding and ignorance remain, and when those twin characteristics are left unattended, they breed among us hate and its accompanying behavior.

Those are outcomes we all must stand against.

Rod Erickson is Penn State’s president; Nick Jones is provost; Damon Sims is vice president for student affairs; and Terrell Jones is vice provost for educational equity.

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