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December 23, 2021 4:00 pm

Emerson College Addressing Report That Professor Did Hitler Salute in Class

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo Credit: John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons.

Emerson College confirmed on Tuesday that it is addressing a report that a professor engaged in antisemitic behavior in the classroom.

Officials in the private Boston school are “aware” of a social media post that was shared anonymously on Dec. 16 by Jewish on Campus, an Instagram account that collects reports of antisemitism on college campuses. The post’s author alleged that during class, an unidentified Emerson professor asked them to “say something in German” and, when they refused, the professor spoke in German himself “and then did the Hitler salute” at the author and other Jews in class.

According to the author, this wasn’t “the first time [the professor] had done or said something ignorant in class.”

In a statement, Emerson College President William P. Gilligan said “the report is currently being addressed by the relevant college offices charged with responding to such incidents.”

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“Antisemitism and other forms of hate and intolerance violate Emerson’s stated values of inclusiveness and equal treatment,” he said. “The college is committed to addressing any reports of antisemitism, as well as other forms of racism and oppression. Rest assured we acknowledge that any behavior that is insensitive to, or belittles, the trauma experienced by Jewish individuals and others during the Holocaust is unacceptable.”

Gilligan’s statement was his second condemnation of antisemitism this school year. In October, he denounced the graffitiing of language that “mockingly invoked the Holocaust” on a Hillel flyer advertising a yoga event.

“It made me really sad,” junior and Hillel president Jordan Meltzer told The Berkeley Beacon at the time. “It sucks because we don’t feel safe as Jews at Emerson and that’s pretty sad. Emerson is definitely like, ‘We’re a very accepting community,’ and we’re not.”

Hillel and the Emerson Center for Spiritual Life hosted a community discussion space for Jews and non-Jews following the incident, where students lit candles and sang traditional Jewish songs.

In January 2020, four swastikas were found graffitied in the college’s Piano Row stairwell.

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