Temple president: University investigating alleged anti-Semitism

Posted: August 27, 2014

The president of Temple University assured Jewish students and others Monday that the university was conducting an investigation after a student was allegedly attacked and called anti-Semitic names last week.

Neil D. Theobald addressed the issue while answering written questions from students at the Student Center during the school year's first meeting of student government.

"There is no place on a university campus for violence," Theobald said when asked what the university was doing to prevent similar incidents and why no one had been arrested.

He said the university's findings would be turned over to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, which would decide whether to prosecute. Theobald said the findings would also be given to university officials for a potential disciplinary review.

The alleged altercation happened Wednesday during Temple Fest, in which student groups set up tables to inform incoming students about activities on campus.

At issue is a reported verbal exchange between a student, Daniel Vessal, 21, and female students staffing a table for Students for Justice in Palestine. Members of the group reported that an "acquaintance" of the group slapped Vessal after he called the women "terrorists."

Theobald said Monday that for campus police to make arrest, a felony must have taken place, or police must have witnessed an incident or be serving a warrant.

After Theobald left the meeting, Shira Math, a Jewish student, said she was not satisfied with his answers.

"I would like for them to tell us how they are going to prevent future incidents," Math said.

She said she wanted to know what the university was going to tell the pro-Palestinian group.

"I need to know that they are going to be informed on a public level that anti-Semitism isn't accepted at Temple University," she said.


vclark@phillynews.com215-854-5717

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