Support of Religious and Cultural Diversity with Governor DeWine

Below is a message to the Heidelberg Campus Community from President Rob Huntington and Chaplain Paul Sittason Stark, in response to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s request for awareness about issues facing Jewish students in Ohio.

December 2, 2021

Dear Heidelberg Students and Colleagues,

We are blessed to have a diverse religious community on the Heidelberg University campus and in our greater Tiffin community.  Our rich diversity of religious beliefs and faiths helps make us a stronger living and learning institution.

We want to express our firm commitment to Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine's letter to college and university presidents (please see below) calling us to support students, faculty, staff, and all community members in the expression of their faith and their ethnic and cultural heritage, especially the Jewish community during the celebration of Hanukkah.  Heidelberg is a culture that does not tolerate anti-Semitic sentiments, hatred, harassments, or any form of discrimination.  

Thank you very much.

Most respectfully,

Rev. Paul C. Sittason Stark
Chaplain and Director of Religious Life and Civic Engagement
Dr. Robert H. Huntington

November 30, 2021
Dear College and University Presidents,
This week, as Ohio's Jewish communities celebrate Hanukkah, I ask for you and your campus communities to be mindful of issues facing our Jewish students across Ohio.
A student's time at a college or university is one of intellectual challenge -- an opportunity to broaden one's outlook and learn new ideas. It is also a time of personal growth, meeting people who come from different backgrounds, and volunteering with worthy organizations to advance important issues. Our campuses strive to be safe places to study, grow, and develop.
No student should be afraid on a college or university campus -- especially because of their race or religion.
Sadly, for too many of our Jewish students today, that is not the case. Cases of antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments have been reported on our campuses here in Ohio and nationally. Hillel International, the Jewish student campus services organization, reports that these incidents are increasing. It's not only students who are at risk of facing hate and harassment, but it is also faculty and staff.
We cannot stand by and accept these alarming trends. My Administration will be working closely with Chancellor Randy Gardner, our Jewish community partners, and each of you in the
days and weeks ahead to develop comprehensive action items to collectively confront the issue. I look forward to receiving your thoughts and ideas about how to make our campus life inclusive and safe for everyone.
Because of the urgency and significance of what we are facing, I am asking each of you to take several important steps today:

  • Please reach out to your campus Jewish communities, as well as Jewish communities off campus, work with them on ensuring a safe and secure environment online and off, for Jewish students, faculty, and staff;
  • As the season of Hanukkah continues, I ask that you direct your campus chief of police or public safety director to work with the Jewish community and local and state law enforcement to ensure services and other celebrations are safe and uninterrupted; and
  • I ask that you be personally committed to this issue, that you find appropriate opportunities to speak out against antisemitism, and that you urge your campus communities to protect and promote free, open, and civil debate.

Together, we must strive to create a culture on our campuses that does not tolerate antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments or any other type of discrimination. Please join me in working to ensure that every institution of higher learning in Ohio is doing what it can to challenge and address these very serious issues.

Very respectfully yours,

Mike DeWine
Governor of Ohio


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