Photo of the UC Santa Cruz McHenry Library (Photo/Wikicommons)
Photo of the UC Santa Cruz McHenry Library (Photo/Wikicommons)

Santa Cruz students reportedly hold birthday party for Hitler

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UC Santa Cruz Hillel is working with the university to address reports of students holding a birthday celebration for Hitler last month.

According to a statement from the university released Sunday, the students sang “happy birthday” and made cakes decorated with “hateful and horrific symbols” on April 20.

The statement also noted that a flyer spouting antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric was found on a student’s car windshield the next morning in downtown Santa Cruz.

The associate executive director at Santa Cruz Hillel, Daylen Degelsmith, said Hillel learned about the incidents along with the rest of the campus via a letter to the campus community on April 28.  She met with the Hillel board of directors to discuss the news and reaffirm Hillel’s role as a safe space on campus for Jewish students.

“We’re committed to making sure that they have a safe place to learn and feel comfortable,” she said.

Unfortunately, Degelsmith said, such incidents of antisemitism are not new.

“It’s been a time of rising antisemitism on campuses across the country. Students are dealing with this every day,” she told J.

The on-campus incident is being handled by the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office, the university said in its statement. Santa Cruz city officials have been contacted about the flyer.

“We unequivocally condemn these — and all — antisemitic and anti-LGBTQIA+ actions,” the vice chancellor for student affairs and success, Akirah Bradley-Armstrong, said in the statement.

This is the second antisemitic incident reported at UC Santa Cruz in just over a year. In March 2022, “anti-Black, antisemitic and white supremacist” graffiti was found on campus buildings, the university reported.

Responding to the April 20 incident, the Jewish Student Union at UC Santa Cruz called on the administration to take action.

“The Jewish Student Union feels numb in the way that this is not the first time we have experienced this type of hate on the UCSC campus,” the statement posted to Instagram read. “Although we appreciate the campus wide email that was sent out, what we really need is action from our administration.”

Degelsmith said that Hillel plans to continue working with university administration to ensure that this and future incidents are properly handled.

“Hillel is countering antisemitism on campus from every angle,” she said, “including conveying to university leaders their responsibility to recognize and forcefully confront this serious threat.”

Lillian Ilsley-Greene
Lillian Ilsley-Greene

Lillian Ilsley-Greene was a staff writer at J. from 2022-2023.