USC Student Resigns From Student Gov't After Saying She Was Harassed For Being Pro-Israel

Brittany M. Hughes | August 10, 2020
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The vide president of the University of Southern California’s Undergraduate Student Government resigned last week after saying she’d been the target of antisemitic attacks for her pro-Israel beliefs, slamming the student body and the school for creating a culture that shuts down dissenting opinions even while preaching "inclusivity."

In an open letter, now-former USG vice president Rose Ritch said she’d been ‘Harassed and pressured for weeks by my fellow students” because she’s “a supporter of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state,” despite the fact that her alignment with a slew of left-wing ideologies had won favor among the student body when she ran for office last year.

“I have been harassed and pressured for weeks by my fellow students because they opposed one of my identities,” she wrote. “It is not because I am a woman, not because I identify as queer, femme or cisgender. All of these identities qualified me as electable when the student body voted last February. But because I also identify as a Zionist, a supporter of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, I have been accused by a group of students as being unsuitable as a student leader.” 

Ritch also criticized USC for not taking stronger action against the antisemitism she’s faced, saying she’s “disappointed that the university has not recognized the need to publicly protect Jewish students from the type of antisemitic harassment I endured.”

“They have failed to create a safe environment for all students, they have failed to promote the inclusivity that they constantly preach,” went on.

Ritch also slammed the culture on college campuses today that promote groupthink and clamp down on debate, even while saying they promote open-mindedness.

“In today’s day and age, our campuses have shifted from authentic, in-person conversations to comments and retweets, and we 'cancel' anyone with whom we disagree on any issue,” Ritch said, criticizing society’s “lack of nuance or willingness to grapple with the messy complexities of an issue.”

Ritch also added that pro-Israel Jewish students across the country are afraid and are facing pressure to hide or disavow their identities to protect themselves. 

She added that she’s resigning to “protect my physical safety on campus and my mental health.”


Ritch Resignation Letter by Jacob Kornbluh on Scribd

In response, USC President Carol Folt responded in a letter saying the school would take measures to tamp down on antisemitism on campus.

“As you may know, our Vice President of Undergraduate Student Government, Rose Ritch, resigned yesterday from her position in student government,” Folt wrote in a letter sent Thursday evening. “In her heartbreaking resignation letter, Rose described the intense pressure and toxic conditions that led to her decision — specifically the anti-Semitic attacks on her character and the online harassment she endured because of her Jewish and Zionist identities.”

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