Ex governmental officer speaks out against anti-Semitism

Nicholas Redmond


Hannah Rosenthal, a former special envoy to the US State Department, condemned anti-Semitism and other types of hate at the March 19th Herschel Lecture.  Rosenthal’s statements revealed that objecting to a policy to the state of Israel isn’t hateful. However, if there are signs saying, “Jews back to the gas chambers,” that is.

After serving for years as the head of the Office to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism under the Obama administration, Rosenthal has come to realize most people aren’t born with an innate need to hate. Instead, “hatred starts at the dinner table.”

She confirms that this type of hate is also a part of institutions.

“There’s Holocaust relativism and revisionism,” said Rosenthal, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and rabbi. “Where governments, education curriculums, memorials, and museums are being changed so that the message of the Holocaust is different.”

While in Budapest, she recalled a moment where government officials came to take down a picture of General Horthy, a Hungarian admiral who had made a deal to send 800,000 Jews to their death with the help of Adolf Eichmann, one the main architects of the Holocaust.

Rosenthal’s travels to combat the complexities of anti-Semitism and hate have taken her around the world, but the task hasn’t always been easy and proved to be much harder than anticipated.

“I learned that people didn’t know what anti-Semitism was,” she said. “There were people that believed that anti-Semitism ended when Adolf Hitler killed himself.”

The realization that were people oblivious to anti-Semitism gave Rosenthal a new perspective on the propagation of hate—that those in power have the ability make people believe certain things.

“There are college professors that are assigning their students with topics to research and write about if the Holocaust really happened,” explained Rosenthal.

Rosenthal further broke down the facets of anti-Semitism.

“The old-fashioned bit of anti-Semitism which is handed down from generation to generation, is also seen in conspiracy theories,” she said. “In Cairo, Egypt a professor had asked me to be honest, how did the Jews pull off the 9/11 attacks.”

Rosenthal believes anti-Semitism and prejudice also exists on grander scales as well like at the United Nations through the Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item Seven, which was brought by the council due to harsh policies the Israeli government has put on Palestinian residents.

While she agrees it is within people’s right to criticize the Israeli government’s policies, Rosenthal said Israel is put on a higher standard than other countries when it comes to human rights violations.

“Never does someone say, therefore that country shouldn’t exist,” explained Rosenthal.

Despite the conspiracies and disregard Rosenthal has been met with, she’s seen her fair share of successes with her efforts to teach others how hate originates and to increase tolerance.

“We came up with an initiative called Hours Against Hate,” she said about the movement that was also adopted in the 2012 London summer games tolerance campaign. “It’s to give one hour of their time to work with, study with, eat with someone who doesn’t look, pray, live, or love like them.”

Board of Trustees postpone college name change vote

Syeda Sameeha


Citing the need for more information, the Board of Trustees postponed their anticipated vote on whether to change Elmhurst College’s name to university to June.

According to trustee chair Edward Momkus, the board passed a resolution for information on how the potential name change would be implemented at their closed executive trustee session on March 16.

“It’s analogous to building a new building,” said Momkus. “We need to know the costs, impacts, [and] time frames.”

The resolution also required an “ad hoc Committee appointed by the Chair” to seek input about the potential name change from faculty and alumni.  

“I am confident we will have a vote before June or in June,” said Momkus.

The college versus university debate has been ongoing over the past several months, with a faculty vote on the issue and information sessions held for various stakeholders.

HLC gives EC stamp of approval

Syeda Sameeha


Elmhurst College received “a clean bill of health” for its accreditation, according to President Troy VanAken in a campus wide email on March 12.

The accreditation review results, which was completed by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), showed EC met all five of the organization’s criteria such as for mission and responsible conduct, as well as the Federal Compliance requirements.

As part of HLC’s evaluation for the institution’s reaccreditation, the organization visited the campus last semester on November 26-27 to conduct faculty and student feedback sessions.

“This was about as successful a tenth-year visit of the Higher Learning Commission as one could imagine,” said Andrew Das, assistant dean for accreditation and assessment and professor of religious studies, in an email interview with The Leader.

“The results further reaffirm that Elmhurst College is indeed a premiere educational institution of which the students can be very proud.”

The Leader does it again at ICPA

The Leader


The Leader took home 12 awards at this weekend’s Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) Convention. The convention brings college newspapers and their journalism advisers together from across Illinois campuses. In the Non-Dallies Category, The Leader competed with other college newspapers with campuses of under 4,000 enrollment, receiving ten awards. These include honorable mentions for Sports Page and Design, third place for Feature Story and for Sports Game Story, second place for Editorial, Headline Writing, In-Depth Reporting, and first place for Sports Page Design and Feature Page Design. The Leader also placed in the Open Category, which is the most selective ICPA category against almost 33 other newspapers. Those awards include third place in Film Review and second place in House Ad.

Faculty vote on college name change

Syeda Sameeha


In a deeply divided vote, 45 percent of Elmhurst College faculty voted in support of changing EC’s name to a university while 42 percent did not support the change.

The results, which were revealed at the February 8 faculty meeting, surveyed full time faculty of EC. 145 faculty out 165 faculty took part in the survey. According to the survey results, about 12 percent of faculty did not participate in the survey along with the 1 percent who abstained from the vote.

The faculty debate over whether to change EC’s name has been ongoing throughout the fall 2018 semester, including at the August 20 faculty retreat and monthly faculty meetings.

At the February 8 meeting, faculty also approved to submit their report about the survey results and opinions of the college name change to the Board of Trustees who are expected to vote on the issue in March.

"Ultimately, the final decision will be made by the Board of Trustees,” said faculty chair Connie Mixon in an email interview with The Leader. “The faculty appreciates the strong dedication to shared governance at Elmhurst College, and the opportunity to provide the Board with our opinions.”