Authorities are investigating violent threats emailed to leaders of a Hillel that serves Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
The emails were sent early Sunday morning to the Brown RISD Hillel Weiner Center’s executive director, Rabbi Josh Bolton, and assistant director Molly Goldmeier.
“We are working with local, state, and federal authorities to investigate this incident,” the rabbi wrote in an email. “Police performed significant searches of the Weiner Center and have assured us that there is no imminent threat.”
He added that safety and security plans for the site were being updated, and that a “special security detail” had been posted to the building and would remain there in the coming days.
The building remained open for student programs and events.
“Threats like these are scary and hard on the spirit of the Jewish community,” Bolton added. He said Hillel staff were available to students who need support, and expressed gratitude to Providence police, local Jewish leaders and administrators at both schools for their responses.
The Brown Daily Herald reported that Brown President Christina Paxson and RISD President Crystal Williams sent emails to students about the threats, asking school community members to renew their “commitment to eschew all forms of hatred and work toward mutual understanding.”
The precise nature and wording of the threats was not disclosed but Paxson called them “deeply disturbing antisemitic emails.”
“It was absolutely gut-wrenching to see that the only safe space that is left for us Jewish students on campus was threatened,” Sonya Rashkovan ’27, who frequently attends Hillel, told the student newspaper. Rashkovan added that many Jewish students haven’t felt safe on campus since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks in Israel. “I hope that, after this, people will start to take our calls more seriously,” Rashkovan said.
Meanwhile, 19 Brown students ended a hunger they had staged to try and compel the university administrators to consider divesting from businesses “associated with human rights abuses in Palestine.” They broke the fast Friday after eight days, when the administration meeting they aimed to influence took place with no action on the issue.
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