The president of a Catholic college in Ohio announced the creation of an “expedited transfer process” for Jewish students who are facing antisemitism at other universities, following the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel.
“With our fellow Christians around the world, we are praying for justice and peace,” Franciscan University of Steubenville President Fr. Dave Pivonka said in a press release Wednesday. “But with too many universities preaching tolerance but practicing prejudice, we feel compelled to do more.” (RELATED: US University Ends Partnership With Pro-Hamas Palestinian School After DCNF Report)
With the “very troubling spike in antisemitism and serious threats against Jewish students,” the university is offering those students “the chance to transfer immediately.”
Pivonka also urged other presidents from Catholic universities to join Franciscan in expediting its transfer process for Jewish students.
“It is a great source of distress and sadness that the recent Hamas terrorist attacks—in themselves unspeakable evils—have led to yet further increases in threats of violence against the Jewish people,” said Dr. Stephen Hildebrand, vice president for academic affairs at Franciscan University and conference organizer.
The press release also highlighted how the Catholic Church has condemned antisemitism throughout history while acknowledging “her own past failings in fraternal charity toward the Jewish people.”
“The Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone,” according to the Vatican Council II document, Nostra Aetate.
The university said it will host a conference between Oct. 24–26 to address the history of Catholic-Jewish relations and the history of antisemitism. The event was announced Oct. 5, two days before Hamas’ attack at daybreak Oct. 7.
Two Franciscan University students also spoke out about how their experience in Israel was cut short due to the Hamas attack, according to WTRF 7 News.
7News spoke with two Franciscan University students whose trip was cut short after Hamas attacked Israel. https://t.co/bHhTxlXVcV
— WTRF 7News (@WTRF7News) October 18, 2023
“When we were finally in Jordan and I was kind of hearing about what was happening and the escalation, that’s when I more felt a little bit more scared. But I was already out of the country by then, so I wasn’t super worried,” Franciscan University student Magdalena Kleb said.