US college bans use of name of anti-Semitic founder

A Bryn Mawr founder “openly and vigorously advanced racism and anti-Semitism as part of her vision of the college,” and therefore the use of her name by the college has been put on moratorium. 

Bryn Mawr, a women’s liberal arts college in Philadelphia, announced that it will enact a one-year suspension on using the name of one of its founders, Martha Carey Thomas, a noted anti-Semite.

In an open letter last month, college president Kim Cassidy said that the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville earlier this month that ended in the death of a 32-year-old woman influenced the decision in favor of the moratorium.

Cassidy wrote that the events of the past month “continue to be profoundly disturbing to me. Many of you have said that you share this feeling. The views and actions of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacist and xenophobic groups are antithetical to the values we strive to embrace at Bryn Mawr.”

“We join many across the country in thinking about how to address institutional histories shaped by racism and anti-Semitism. In this context, many of you have suggested that we confront the objectionable beliefs of one of our founders, M. Carey Thomas—beliefs still so poignantly evident in the recent events of our country. I agree, and I know that many others do as well,” she explained.

Thomas actively worked to bar Jews from entering Bryn Mawr, both as faculty members and as students.

Pointing to Thomas’ significant contributions in the field of women’s education, Cassidy stated that she decided to enact the moratorium for the coming academic year “while the issue is taken up” by an internal working group.

“While Thomas had a profound impact on opportunities for women in higher education, on the academic development and identity of Bryn Mawr, and on the physical plan of the campus, she also openly and vigorously advanced racism and anti-Semitism as part of her vision of the College,” Cassidy said.

Furthermore, “No solution is ideal, but my hope is that by fully acknowledging Thomas’ legacy of racism and anti-Semitism through this action, we will grant the community time for discernment: serious and thoughtful study, exchange of views, reflection, and action planning about our legacies of exclusion and resistance.”

Several entities across the US have moved to remove various form of memorials dedicated to controversial individuals.

By: World Israel News Staff