UVM offers a vibrant, inclusive community for Jewish students, faculty, and staff. Opportunities to connect in a variety of settings and organizations—religious, scholarly, and recreational—extend across the campus and into the Greater Burlington community.
This page is intended to serve as a reference for those who want to learn more about opportunities to explore, connect with, and celebrate Jewish life at UVM, and to provide information about resources the university has employed to combat antisemitism, to support our Jewish students within our diverse campus community, and to promote Our Common Ground values.
Student Engagement Opportunities
A home away from home where all are welcome no matter their background or affiliation. Provides religious, educational, social, and recreational programming for Jewish students.
A collaboration between Hillel and Residential Life, the Exploring Jewish Culture Program fosters students’ broader and deeper understanding of what Jewish life can look like, including exploring their passions and how they connect to Jewish life.
Provides a safe environment where students can explore what being Jewish means to them, building Jewish experiences that are meaningful, relevant, and accessible and creating opportunities to engage their peers in Jewish life.
The Interfaith Center fosters reflection, spiritual practice, education, and community building and provides programs, resources and events throughout the academic year.
Student Life supports clubs and programs that help students find friends and build community with peers while exploring a range of interests, identities, and activities. Students wishing to establish new clubs are encouraged to contact the Director of Student Life, Lina Balcom.
Student Educational Opportunities
The study of the Holocaust examines a range of issues, such as antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, militarism, homophobia, and the formation and functioning of stereotypes. Several courses and an academic minor in Holcaust Studies are offered at UVM.
Jewish Studies examines Judaism not only as a religion but as a civilization with deep roots, and as a culture encompassing a rich tradition in language, literature, philosophy and religion, customs and ritual, art, music and film. The Jewish Studies program offers an interdisciplinary Jewish Studies minor.
Professional Development Opportunities
DEI strives to make their work accessible, affirming, and action-oriented to help ensure excellence is inclusive of everyone. DEI is leading academic and administrative units across campus in a strategic planning process to ensure policies, programs and strategies are in place to achieve inclusive excellence. The division offers University-wide programming and educational opportunities that build inclusivity in higher education and also acts as a consultative resource to support the needs of individual units on campus.
The Miller Center promotes scholarship, education, and public awareness related to the Holocaust. The Miller Center hosts many public events at the university, including the annual Raul Hilberg Memorial Lecture and the Miller Symposium.
UVM faculty, staff and students participate in required, annual training to recognize, address, and prevent bias incidents.
UVM accesses educational resources and training through the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Faculty, staff, and senior leaders are encouraged to use resources and learn from materials that address antisemitism:
- Resources to Address and Challenge Antisemitism (Anti-Defamation League)
- Everything you need to know about Antisemitism (American Jewish Committee)
Reporting and Addressing Bias Incidents
University leaders work with multiple safety and support areas and programs to ensure students, faculty, and staff know how to report bias incidents and provide space for those directly impacted to be heard and to receive supportive resources tailored to the situation.
When a report is submitted, the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity (AAEO) will take the following steps:
- Review the report and determine whether Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct or other university policy is implicated;
- Conduct initial outreach to the individual who submitted the report to seek additional information and/or make them aware of their options, including process referrals for potential policy or legal violations when appropriate; and
- In partnership with other campus offices, offer supportive measures to individuals impacted by a reported bias incident or incident of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.
Note: Eight members of the UVM DEI, Student Affairs, and AAEO teams will attend a workshop, “Confront and address bias incidents on campus in an evolving legal and political landscape,” on Nov. 14, 2022, to expand their knowledge about best practices and improvements for bias response development on college campuses.
Note: UVM is reviewing the Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy to ensure it sufficiently addresses incidents of bias that occur within our campus community.
Recent and Upcoming Actions in Support of UVM’s Jewish Community
There will always be more we can do to ensure that the UVM community is inclusive of everyone. Below are some steps the university has taken and will continue to take this academic year based on our continuing dialogue with Jewish students and others.
UVM leaders have met with Jewish students to better understand their experiences on campus related to their Jewish identity. Meetings generated numerous ideas for improving prevention, education, and training focused on ending antisemitism. These ideas are currently being turned into new programs and offerings.
UVM’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment has collaborated with Jewish students to explore this year’s campus climate data and conduct charrettes to assess the comfort and safety of students who publicly express their culture, identity, ethnicity, and religion
UVM leaders have participated in national and international meetings to learn more about combating antisemitism on college campuses and how to support those who experience it.
The Provost , DEI, and Student Affairs co-hosted conversations with Hillel, the Interfaith Center to discuss Jewish students’ individual and collective experiences at UVM.
Senior leaders have consulted with local, regional, and national organizations to discuss greater engagement between UVM and their organizations in the interest of combating antisemitism and ensuring an inclusive experience for Jewish students at UVM.
The UVM Hillel board was briefed by senior leaders on recent actions and plans (pdf) for supporting our Jewish community.