At small, private and notably business-focused Babson College in the suburbs of Boston, school president Leonard A. Schlesinger apologized last week for some anti-Semitic antics surrounding a 1978 soccer game.
Schlesinger also announced that 500 first-year students will be saddled with an anti-bias program during orientation because of the incident, which occurred during the Carter administration, 17 years before most of the freshmen were even born.
In addition, reports Boston.com, there will also be a week of training for professors and staff members.
The Anti-Defamation League will formulate the training.
The men’s soccer match for which incoming students will now suffer occurred on November 4, 1978 between Babson and Brandeis University, a school in a nearby suburb that had — and still has — a notable population of Jewish students.
During practice, some Babson players put up a poster containing the letters “K T J,” short for “Kill The Jews,” and a Star of David superimposed with a cross. Some players — who by now are in their fifties — also wore swastikas and yelled, “Holocaust,” explains Boston.com. In a gym the next day, a sign reading “Happy Holocaust” was discovered.
It’s not clear if any anti-Semitic imagery or language occurred during the actual game.
It’s also not clear which team won. Babson finished 13-3-2 that season. Brandeis’s 1978 record is not readily available.
At the time, Babson’s administration responded to the soccer team’s disturbing anti-Jewish antics in several ways, notes Boston.com. The president at the time publicized the event to the entire campus. The team also had to write formal apologies and watch a movie about the atrocities of the Holocaust. The athletic director also issued an apology.
These punishments and acts of contrition are not sufficient for President Schlesinger now, though — at least not since a student recently informed him of the incident.
He is particularly galled that Babson did not formally apologize to Brandeis.
“Although it is some 35 years later, as president of this institution, I believe I have a fundamental responsibility to respond to what I have learned, including extending my most sincere public apology to members of the Babson and Brandeis communities for the unconscionable behaviors they experienced,” Schlesinger pontificated in a school press release.
The College Fix was able to reach Babson’s administration via email. Michael Chmura, a spokesman for the college, apparently ignored a question about any fresh acts of bias or racism on campus that might call for sensitivity training. Instead, Chmura blandly said the school is instituting the training “in (a) desire to support our diverse campus community.”
Chmura declined to disclose the cost of the training.
Annual costs for tuition and expenses at Babson total just a whisker under $60,500, according to the school’s website.