BSU responds to professors accusation of anti-Semitism

Bridget Reilly, Editor in Chief

Midwestern State University Black Student Union released a statement Tuesday, Sept. 29, after a professor left a comment on the Wichita Falls Black Lives Matter Facebook group expressing his concerns of anti-Semitism in the Black community at MSU Texas and saying the BSU “should be ashamed of itself.”

At the MSU Texas Amnesty International rally, held for Breonna Taylor, professor of philosophy Nathan Jun spoke for over 13 minutes. Following this event, Jun took to Facebook and wrote:

Nathan Jun
Photo retrieved from the Wichita Falls Black Lives Matter Facebook Page, Sept. 29.

Jun attached comments from MSU Texas student Twitter accounts about his performance at the event, in order to provide a reason for his post.

BSU’s leaders released a statement to their social media platforms Tuesday afternoon, expressing their disappointment in the post.

“…it has come to the Black Student Union’s attention that our organization has been accused of anti-Semitism by a professor that our organization once looked to for advice as well as support here at our prestigious university,” the statement began with.

The BSU took offense, not only with Jun’s accusations, but with his implication that a person cannot be Jewish and Black at the same time.

“To accuse [the BSU] of such a behavior (being hostile or prejudice against Jewish people) is not the founding of our organization, but to ask imply that being Black and Jewish is exclusive from one another is offensive. MSU Texas BSU welcomes all students and faculty/staff to participate in programming that is reflective of our history and culture,” the BSU said in their statement.

Jun said he was taken aback by the response and criticized the timing.

“I am completely shocked by this statement, which is coming at already a bad time,” Jun said.

BSU denounced hate speech and said it would not shun anyone for their beliefs. However, the statement also said that the BSU would not tolerate slander of its name.

“We want it to be clear that we do not condone or promote hate speech and/or hate crimes. We believe that comments and acts such as these create a hostile learning environment – one that we as Black students are all too familiar with,” the statement said. “We recognize and accept those who have different beliefs and would not shun anyone for holding their entitled beliefs, but we will not allow people to slander our organization’s name when we as Black students have spoken the most about inequities and unfair treatment of Black people, People of Color and marginalized groups at our university.”

In response, Jun wrote to the BSU demanding evidence of these allegations and to “modify or retract” the statement “if such evidence is not provided.”

“I was shocked, disappointed [and] dismayed to learn that you [the Black Student Union] issued a statement alleging that I accused your organization of anti-Semitism,” Jun said. “This allegation is categorically false and is only serving to exacerbate the actual anti-Semitic backlash I am already facing in response to unrelated online comments.” 

Despite the allegations of anti-Semitism, the BSU is committed to educating and involving the MSU Texas community in all areas of campus life on Black injustice.

“The BSU’s purpose is to provide a safe space for Black students and their allies while helping to build and create long-lasting friendships as well as help to increase the retention and graduation of Black students at MSU Texas,” the statement said. “We also believe that the academic and social reality of Black lives should be acknowledged therefore we are committed to raising heightened consciousness and awareness of Black culture through the social and educational initiatives at MSU Texas.

Under Jun’s request, future incidences involving Jun’s and BSU’s statements will be managed through Vice President of Student Affairs, Keith Lamb.

“While I would very much prefer to resolve this matter privately, please be advised that I will be contacting the Vice President for Student Affairs in the event that no response to this email is forthcoming,” Jun said.