By Katherine Meyer
Several members of Fordham’s faculty arrived at their desks early Friday morning to find that their offices had been faxed anti-Semitic messages from an anonymous source.
The university’s office of the president sent out an email later in the day, addressing the message to all Fordham’s students, staff, faculty and guests. The office reported that multiple faxes were sent, the first of which were received at 8:30 Friday morning.
Describing the message as “virulently anti-Semitic,” the email said that the Department of Public Safety had brought the matter to the NYPD, but it had been ruled “political speech and not a crime.” The email went on to say that Public Safety was still going to investigate the source of the facts, and had “tentatively established that they are coming from a source outside the University.”
The African American studies department was one of the offices that received the fax. Mark Naison, a professor in the department, said he only saw it briefly this morning, but he remembered that it included “something about a Hasidic group in Europe murdering Christian boys and severing their private parts.”
“It was vulgar, odd and ridiculous,” Naison said in an email. “I thought the person who sent it was quite deranged.”
“Frankly, I have never seen anything like this before,” Naison said, going on to call the messages “very strange” and “unconnected to anything real.”
Amir Idris, chair of the department of African and African American studies, did not see the fax, but was informed about it by faculty members.
“Of course, our department strongly condemns such vicious attacks on specific group[s]” he said in an email. “I believe that the language of hate and fear is an enemy to our humanity’s highest ideals. The language of inclusion and tolerance instead advances our collective efforts toward cultivating a better society.”
The office of the president described the fax as “the antithesis of what a Jesuit university represents” in its email.
The email went on to say that the university unequivocally condemns the kind of language in the faxes.
“Fordham stands with the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the Jewish faith, with the Jewish people, and with people of good will everywhere, in utterly rejecting this vicious and degrading attack,” the email read.