Reconsidering Life at Davidson: Reflections Post-Dox

Raven Hudson ‘21

As my peers and I gathered to discuss the presence of alleged neo-Nazis at Davidson in the forty-eight hours immediately following the discovery, many different concerns and reactions arose. Among them, however, was a common pattern: outrage at Davidson’s inaction with regard to the safety of its students.

Following the discovery, there was no direct communication from the administration, there were no SSAFER texts, and, even in the emails that were eventually sent, there was no way to access the Twitter thread so that students could investigate the source of the vaguely-mentioned danger for themselves. 

I acknowledge that, by withholding information, the college was trying to avoid inciting mass panic; however, it could be argued that the lack of communication fostered a different, and potentially more dangerous breed of panic. Rumors spread quickly, especially since it seemed that the only way to receive information was from fellow students. More importantly, due to the college’s blasé attitude, students did not feel like their fears were being acknowledged and acted upon. These feelings of abandonment were amplified by the continuation of class; while administration wanted business to continue as usual, for many students, the demands of standing assignment deadlines were impossible given their distressed emotional states.

The teachers were also frustrated by the lack of communication, which left them uncertain about which actions would be appropriate. Thus, while some teachers did cancel class, none had enough information to make such a decision confidently. 

The fact that the administration  believed  that students could continue life as normal, without reprieve, after learning that white supremacists had lived on campus only serves to illustrate the disparities in Davidson’s understanding of the real threat that such a presence–whether previous or ongoing—poses to its students of color, Jewish students, Muslim students, and LGBT students.

Luis Toledo ‘20

This time last year, it would have been easy for me to say that Nazis were a common enemy for all Davidson students. In light of recent events, I was wrong. However, bigotry is nothing new for minorities across this campus. Whether you are Jewish, a person of color, or queer; at some point during your life, or even your Davidson career, you have been belittled for being who you are. 

Minorities have had to face the task of verbalizing these instances. Having to do this is, needless to say, emotionally taxing. If these events have been productive to our community in any way, it is that our fears are now justified. This is an instance that the members of the dominant discourse cannot ignore. This time, we are able to confirm what we have known all along, that there are people in our spaces that threaten our existence. 

A community that allows these heinous views to fester is a community that needs to reevaluate itself. This needs to happen, regardless of how “progressive” that community might consider itself to be. I would also want to take this opportunity to acknowledge how devastating it is that things have come to this. It is sad that the image of six million corpses had to pop up into our minds in order for some to realize that the monster of racism still walks among us. It is tragic that it had to come to this for white people to finally believe us. 

Ethan Ehrenhaft ’20

Hours before the Carolina Workers Collective exposed the anti-Semitic tweets allegedly posted by a Davidson student, I was paying a visit to the Great Synagogue of Florence. The synagogue, one of the largest left in Europe, still has a set of doors scarred by Nazi bayonets. 

Studying abroad obviously makes one feel distant from campus, but that is a frame of mind I have felt even more intensely since the events of last week. I have followed social media posts and reached out to friends to try to get a sense of what Davidson feels like right now, but I am largely left with my own anger at the beliefs that were brought forth. I also find myself grappling with the reality that neo-Nazis seem to have become an accepted norm of 21st-century life. 

Both sides of the Atlantic have witnessed this hate grow. In 2015, the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn came in third in Greece’s general election with 7 percent of ballots cast in its favor.  In early 2018, Poland’s right wing government made it a criminal offense to blame its government for complicity in the Holocaust (Poland has since downgraded it to a civil offense). The US itself saw a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic episodes in 2017, according the Anti-Defamation League.

It beyond horrifies me that over 70 years later, the same rhetoric and ideology that led to the deaths of over 6 million Jews is found in our countries and classrooms. But that is the reality we must deal with. My grandfather escaped Austria in 1938 and eventually made his way to the U.S. Some of his relatives were not so lucky and fell victim to the Final Solution. I owe it to them to help call out what we are witnessing for what it is and try to stop it. There are not “very fine people” on the side carrying swastikas; there is only evil. 

Simon Lowen ‘19

Recently, Davidson Hillel and Hillel internationally have been characterized, at Davidson, as, historically and currently, “extremely anti-Black and anti-Palestinian”.

I would like to personally address this statement with the following:

1)    Davidson Hillel is unaffiliated with Hillel International and NC Hillel, with the exception that we attend a statewide leadership retreat annually, and use their name. 

2)   This statement neglects the existence of non-white Jews.

3)    Davidson Hillel has partnered with the BSC in the past, and many of Davidson Hillel members have consistently participated in the biggest events planned by BSC leadership, such as the Black Lives Matter march and the Die-in. However, Hillel definitely could have done more to support the BSC in the past, and is actively working to increase our support for the BSC in the present. 

4)    Davidson Hillel has not taken any political stance on Israel, nor on Palestine. 

This statement does bring up some interesting ideas, which should be discussed at a later date. However, given the context of both Hillel’s direct involvement in organizing on campus responses to anti-Semitic, Nazi twitter posts , and the fact that the two weeks before the exposed posts were awful for Jews on campus, many Jews felt attacked and silenced, precisely at the time when we were most vulnerable.

I have been brought to my knees – literally—multiple times this semester thanks to events both on this campus and in the world at large, with regards to my Judaism. I implore you, reader, to only say things in public settings that you would be comfortable saying to your subject in person, as that will enable more empathetic interactions. 

While these feelings of disempowerment, fear, anger, sadness, etc. are new to me (and to others on this campus), for many, they are decades-old. Black, brown, queer, disabled, migrant, international, undocumented, and so many other students have felt this way for years, with too little action taken (both by fellow students, and by the administration) to support them. Now is the time to come together and support each other. Let’s rise above hatred and unite under the banner of our shared humanity.

Full versions of pieces by Hudson ’21 and Lowen ’19 will be published individually. 

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