UNF student behind anti-Semitic incident on campus, university says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida said it has identified a student who is accused of placing stickers around campus that had QR codes linking to a website that hosted white supremacist and anti-Semitic materials.

UNF said the stickers were found March 29 in the midst of Passover, a Jewish holiday that began March 27.

The Florida Times-Union, which first reported the story, said the messaging was posted on the doors of Jewish professors’ classrooms.

UNF said Tuesday that the person responsible has been identified as a current student and the incident has been referred to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Inclusion and Student Conduct. A university spokesperson said that because of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, UNF can’t release any more information about the incident.

“The University of North Florida wholeheartedly rejects hate in all its forms. We remain extremely committed to providing a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment on our campus for all students, faculty and staff regardless of race, ethnicity, faith, national origin, range of abilities, sexual orientation or gender identity,” UNF wrote in a statement to News4Jax. “We stand in solidarity with our Jewish community and strongly condemn these actions.”

In a statement posted to Instagram, the school’s Jewish Student Union said it stands with the university against hostility and discrimination.

Kelvin Mmary, a UNF student from East Africa, told News4Jax on Tuesday that he found out about the stickers through an email that went out to students.

“I was shocked as anyone else could be, and that’s very unacceptable,” Mmary said.

UNF student Michael Khoriakov, who is Jewish, had also just learned about what happened.

“I was kind of shocked. Why would you spread the message of something bad out there?” Khoriakov said.

Rabi Jonathan Lubliner, of the Jacksonville Jewish Center, was not surprised. He said this isn’t the first time someone has attempted to spread messages of hate and it won’t be the last. He also said heated politics have allowed certain segments of society to openly express their views of people they deem different.

“There is, unfortunately, discrimination and bigotry from both extremes of the political spectrum. Each one is different. But each is also rooted in a very narrow and intolerant view of the other,” Lubliner said.

UNF formed an anti-hate task force after swastikas were found spray-painted in a campus bathroom in 2019.

In 2017, Ken Parker, a UNF student and former member of the Jacksonville Ku Klux Klan, was suspended for a social media post that showed him holding a gun.

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