Jewish Fraternity Changing Locks After Attacks: ‘Astronomical’ Risks

A Jewish fraternity is increasing security measures for chapters across the U.S., such as changing the locks at homes amid an “astronomical” rise in antisemitism on college campuses.

On Wednesday, Rob Derdiger, the CEO of AEPI national organization, spoke to Newsweek exclusively about the ongoing efforts the fraternity is taking to combat a rise in antisemitism amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas militants.

According to Derdiger, AEPI is a “very loudly and proudly Jewish fraternity” that operates across 153 college campuses. Many of the chapters are currently located on campuses in North America, but the fraternity also has two chapters in Israel and two in the U.K. “We have about 8,000 undergraduates on those campuses,” Derdiger said.

“We’ve seen a rise in antisemitism over many years now. The last three and half weeks have seen an astronomical and immeasurable rise in antisemitism on campuses. It is like drinking water from a fire hose,” Derdiger told Newsweek.

Derdiger explained that security precautions are approached in various ways as fraternity housing differs across each college campus. For AEPI homes that are owned by university housing, they follow the institution’s safety guidelines; homes that are owned by the national organization take their own approach.

“Those that we own, we’ve certainly been hardening the targets over time and we continue to and we’ve ramped it up over the last couple of weeks and we’ll continue to ramp that up,” he said. “As far as all of the basics, security cameras and door locks and making sure that we’re doing all the physical upgrades that harden targets.”

“Each facility is assessed individually and where, if or when, needed, we change locks or access codes in order to maintain the ability for members to strictly control access,” Derdiger added.

On October 7, Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel and fighting between the two has continued since. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously announced that his country is “at war” and the Israel Defense Forces has continued to carry out airstrikes across different areas in the Gaza Strip.

Amid the ongoing war, many protests and rallies supporting different sides have spread across the U.S. Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous reports of antisemitic incidents across college campuses such as a Binghamton University student who was seen on video saying that “Israel is worse than Nazi Germany.”

At UC Berkeley, a graduate student offered extra credit for attending a “national student walkout tomorrow against the settler-colonial occupation of Gaza,” however the assignment was later altered by the university following backlash on social media.

While speaking with Newsweek, Derdiger said that it would be “unaffordable to post security guards at every fraternity house location throughout the country, 24/7, 365.”

He also explained that the fraternity has implemented a custom digital-education program for new members, which discusses “situational awareness training” in order to prepare students for any sort of security issue.

“The security doesn’t end when they walk out of the door of their fraternity house. In many ways, the security situations are happening on the quad[…]in the classroom and at a university club and in any university setting, it’s not just when they happen to be sitting in their fraternity house,” Derdiger said. “They have to be security conscious at all times. They have to have a heightened sense of awareness at all times.”

According to Derdiger, the AEPI national organization continues to work with local law enforcement and campus police departments across the U.S. to help assist students in any way possible.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

The post Jewish Fraternity Changing Locks After Attacks: ‘Astronomical’ Risks appeared first on Newsweek.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top