I used to live at 17 Eagle Row, then Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity house, from 2007 to 2008. As much as being a place where ZBT would throw parties, it was also a place where my friends and I lived, studied and once even shared a family Thanksgiving dinner. It was our home, for better or for worse.
I was also at Emory in the midst of controversy. At the time, former President Jimmy Carter had just penned Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and our community had been in uproar as a result, with some Jewish people labeling him and those who defended him as anti-Semitic. I recall being a frequent contributor to the pages of The Emory Wheel as a Jewish student who defended those who had dared question Israeli policy. Although I had disagreed with their conclusions, I’d welcomed the dialogue on an important topic in the spirit of discourse at Emory University.
Much has changed since I graduated from Emory. Today, 17 Eagle Row is inhabited by the members of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a different, historically Jewish fraternity. And this past weekend, on Yom Kippur, its face was defamed by swastikas.
While I dare not guess who would commit such a vile act, ironically on the day where Jews around the world atone for their transgressions, its occurrence flies in the face of everything I remember Emory for. Where people would once discuss their differences, now there is vandalism. We used to celebrate other cultures and religions, but now we look to erect insurmountable barriers of hatred.
When I first stepped foot on Emory’s campus in 2005, I knew I would attend because it felt like home. This past weekend, that home was attacked in the most vile of fashions. While it is likely that nearly everyone who reads this message did not, and would not, commit such acts of terrorism, this should serve as a wake up call to all of us. We must not only have dialogue, we must also take action. The acts of a few reflect poorly on us all. Emory University is better than this.
– Steve Golden graduated from Emory University in 2009. He now lives in New York City, pursuing his LL.M.