Anti-Semitic attacks against AEPi advance aggression avoidance

The Alpha Epsilon Pi house in the west university neighborhood of Eugene, Oregon. (Emerald Archives)

Recent attacks against Alpha Epsilon Pi have brought the University of Oregon, Eugene Police Department and International AEPi headquarters together to combat anti-Semitism.

On Oct. 30, UO student Damien Leon Ramirez sat on an AEPi member’s truck at the fraternity’s house and, when asked to get off of the truck, Ramirez responded in anti-Semitic remarks and kicked the side of the vehicle.

This is just one of the anti-Semitic attacks that have happened against AEPi. Swastikas are often drawn on car windows and mailboxes nearby the fraternity’s house.

While Ramirez was charged with second degree intimidation six days later, the UO, EPD and International AEPi staff have responded to take the best precautions necessary for AEPi’s safety, John Pierce the International AEPi public relations spokesperson, said.

Along with the national fraternity and EPD, AEPi is working closely with the university.

“We continue to provide support and outreach to the fraternity to make sure they know that the university community is deeply critical of such behaviors and stands together with our students impacted by this,” Robin Holmes, UO Vice President for Student Life, said in an email.

Pierce said there has been a rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses and AEPi will not stand for it.

“We want our undergraduates to be proud about their Jewish identity, but we also want them to be as safe as possible,” Pierce said.

UO President Michael Schill said in an email that the anti-Semitic attacks across the country are sparking prevention conversations nationally, but also locally.

“Matters of bias are under intense discussion across the country,” Schill said. “These kinds of crimes illustrate our need to keep working and remain committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive climate on campus.”

While Pierce said anti-Semitic attacks are not completely preventable, Holmes said that the UO has a plan in place to fight the attacks.

“We will continue to foster opportunities for critical dialog and important conversations about celebrating diversity in all of its forms, and increasing acceptance, tolerance, and understanding of those whom we may perceive to be different from ourselves,” Holmes said.

Pierce said he is confident the latest anti-Semitic attacks will be resolved, but he and Holmes said they encourage the community to be understanding and recognize the issue as the first step.

“Speak up and speak out against racial, ethnic and other intolerances whenever you encounter them,” Holmes said. “Make sure anyone who becomes a part of our community knows what our community values are.”

UO President Michael Schill said that the UO will not condone such acts on campus.

“I am deeply disturbed by these acts against Alpha Epsilon Pi,” Schill said. “They are cowardly and completely contrary to the values we hold dear at the University of Oregon. We do not tolerate hate crimes against any member of our campus community and appreciate the Eugene Police Department’s rapid attention to the situation.”

A previous version of this article included an incorrect first name for Ramirez.  

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