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HEFNU Statement on Youngstown

March 1, 2022

The Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University (HEFNU), its Director, Advisory Board, and Academic Council, express unequivocal opposition to Youngstown State University’s planned nonrenewal of the Director of YSU’s Center for Judaic and Holocaust Studies.

Having no Director will have negative consequences for both YSU’s relationship with the Jewish community, its ability to expand Holocaust-related programs, and its initiatives related to diversity, inclusion, and equity. With the removal of the director, the future of the Center appears very uncertain.

As a Foundation that advocates for the expansion of Holocaust Studies on university campuses in the United States and around the world, HEFNU sees this as a step in the wrong direction. Several recent national studies point to decreasing knowledge about the Holocaust among college-age students. There is also a steep upward trend in antisemitic speech and violence alongside increasing attraction to authoritarianism and slipping trust in democratic processes and civic engagement. There is never a good time to cut Holocaust education, but we live in particularly challenging times with an urgent need of educating people about the root causes of genocide, war, and dictatorships.

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