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U-M launches new institute to combat antisemitism

University of Michigan students walk through the Diag in Ann Arbor.
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
University of Michigan students walk through the Diag in Ann Arbor.

The University of Michigan is launching a new institute to combat antisemitism. The university says it's part of broader efforts to support religious diversity on campus.

The University's Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on Thursday. The center will "leverage U-M research and scholarship around global antisemitism and divisiveness," U of M said in a statement.

The announcement comes amid growing concerns around Islamophobia and antisemitism on college campuses in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war.

The institute will be housed within the University's College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Sarah Hubbard, chair of the University's Board of Regents, said many of the details of the center still need to be worked out.

"There's just so much controversy and concern going on around the issue, we feel the center is a way, for a long time really, to be educating the world about issues between Israel, Hamas, Judaism," she said.

Late last month, the University faced criticism for canceling two resolutions on its Central Student Government ballot regarding the violence in Gaza after someone sent a campaign email to the entire undergraduate student body at the Ann Arbor campus. University President Santa Ono and seven of the eight board members later issued a statement condemning Islamophobia and antisemitism on U of M's campus.

"The time has come for this kind of effort on the University of Michigan's campus," Hubbard said. "This is an issue that has been important to a lot of our students for decades, and now is the time to really be sure that we are educating everyone related to all of the issues around antisemitism."

Editor's note: The University of Michigan holds Michigan Radio's broadcast license.

George Weykamp is a senior at the University of Michigan studying business law and history. He was the 2022 University Editor at The Michigan Daily where he oversaw coverage of the first firing of a University President in over a century as well as a historic sexual misconduct settlement.