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Borns Jewish Studies Program Diversity Statement (May 2020)

The Borns Jewish Studies Program aims to foster a diverse community, committed to inclusion in our research as in our teaching. The Program features scholars and students from a variety of backgrounds, with a variety of specializations, who together bring a variety of perspectives to Jewish Studies. Jewish Studies by its nature, and certainly as taught at Indiana University, demands special attention be given to differences of religion, gender, race, ethnicity and language, and further helps us to understand the idea of diversity in new ways (including the idea of internal diversity within any given community.) In this spirit, the Borns Jewish Studies Program strives to attract, retain, and include students and faculty from a diversity of backgrounds, being especially mindful of underrepresented groups.

The Program is situated in the College of Arts and Sciences, but connects to numerous other units on campus and throughout Indiana University. The university in general, and the College in particular, is a place in which ideas and concepts are explored, examined, tested, contested, affirmed, and adopted by way of spirited but always civil and respectful argumentation. In the university classroom, exploratory and critical reasoning requires mutual respect for all participants, no matter their age, color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or veteran status. The Program reflects the broader commitments outlined in the Indiana University student code on the right to freedom from discrimination and harassment and Indiana University policies on Non-Discrimination/Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Sexual Misconduct. Within the Borns Jewish Studies Program, we share a commitment to empathetic listening, respectful disagreement, and the value of debate.

The many experiences of Jews over the last two millennia have shown how difficult it has often proven to develop mutual understanding and respect between peoples, and the danger to both minorities and mainstream societies when basic principles of human decency are violated. It has shown that mutual respect is fragile, especially in societies as diverse as ours. It is incumbent on all members of the IU community to cultivate a climate in which opinions can be uttered, heard, and debated.