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Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Hillel partners with FAU organizations for “Spread Cream Cheese Not Hate” campaign

Hillel’s “Spread Cream Cheese Not Hate” started as an antisemitism campaign and expanded. Multiple student organizations and individual students signed a pledge to speak out against hate. The pledge received over 770 signatures.
Michael Cook
Paul Leachman (Left), Hillel Vice President of Tikkun Olam and Tyler Fokshner, Hillel Vice President of Programming (Right), greet students as they walk the breezeway at FAU to sign the pledges for free bagels and cream cheese.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Jan. 11 with a statement from SG President Dalia Calvillo.

On January 9, Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach, a resource for Jewish Student Life at Florida Atlantic University (FAU), hosted their 3rd annual “Spread Cream Cheese Not Hate” campaign. With 770 signatures for a petition to combat hate, signers received a free bagel and cream cheese to show their appreciation for their participation.

In 2020, on National Bagel Day, the “Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate” campaign launched by the University of Florida Hillel was to spread awareness about antisemitism, which is discrimination against Jews.

Lauren Oback, assistant director of Hillel, says this year’s pledge against hate speech is different from previous years because it used to only focus on condemning antisemitism. Now, they have expanded to denounce multiple other injustices.

“[Hillel offers] a safe and inclusive space for all students, regardless of religion, identity [or] sexual orientation,” said Oback. “This year, we thought it was important to modify the pledge to include homophobia, islamophobia and racism, in addition to all forms of hate, because there has been a rise in hatred and acts of hate towards our brothers and sisters in these other communities.”

Hillel stated that no organizations directly declined to sign the pledge and will remain open indefinitely with no deadline, as Hillel encourages student organizations to register to collaborate on this campaign. 

The event welcomed all students, families, alumni, faculty, staff and community members to take the pledge that states “to condemn hate in all forms including antisemitism, homophobia, islamophobia and racism at FAU and in our communities.”

The guidelines on the pledge are the following: 

  • To speak up against hate.
  • To educate myself and others on hate speech.
  • To respect equal rights and diversity of thought and belief for everyone, no matter a person’s race, religion, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental challenges.  
  • To disengage from stereotyping and bias. 
  • To refrain from telling jokes or using slang descriptions based on differences, recognizing that even though I may mean no disrespect, these words may be offensive to others.
Pledge flyer

Hate speech, according to the United Nations, is defined as “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behavior that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are—in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender or other identity factor.”

FAU Hillel President Mia Bulmash highlights the significance of the pledge to support preventive measures at FAU and to maintain a positive campus climate. The event invites engaging discussion and the opportunity for Owls to form a coalition.

“Signing the pledge shows that you are keeping yourself accountable by physically putting it down to writing; you’ll be more cognizant of [hate speech],” said Bulmash.

The following Registered Student Organizations at FAU have signed the pledge with Hillel to condemn hate in all forms:

  • African Student Association
  • Alpha Epsilon Pi
  • Delta Tau Delta Fraternity
  • FAU Student Government Association
  • Global Health Interest Group
  • Hillel of Broward and Palm Beach
  • Interfraternity Council
  • Jewish Owls Chabad Lubavitch
  • Minorities in Social Studies & Justice
  • Maps (Minority Association of Pre-health Students)
  • Nepalese Student Association
  • Owls 4 Israel
  • OwlThon at FAU
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Pi Kappa Alpha Lambda Beta Chapter
  • Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Association
  • Pre Veterinary Medical Association
  • Progressive Black Men Inc.
  • Psychology Club
  • Reformed University Fellowship
  • Shark Pantry
  • Sigma Kappa
  • Students for Peace

Ava Gigliotti, president of Students for Peace, a student organization that advocates social justice change agents, explains why it is vital that the organization joined in support of the “Spread Cream Cheese, Not Hate” campaign.

“The message behind it is meaningful; we support this as we promote vocalizing on different social injustices in the world so we all live peacefully,” said Gigliotti. 

Hillel staff and FAU organizations hosted tents offering free bagels, cream cheese, and information about the campaign as students made their way to class through the Breezeway.

Ximena Dipietro, a student co-delegate for the Solidarity organization at FAU, identifies as feminine transgender and recently pledged her commitment to the collective of students advocating for equal rights. Her encounters with and observations of hate speech prompted this decision.

“It gives me peace of mind knowing that so many willingly signed such a statement against hate speech, especially at a time of increasing bigotry of all forms in Florida and the U.S. at large.” 

Anthony Mals, an FAU lacrosse team student, was led to sign the pledge to educate others to reform hate speech.

“[There has] been much unnecessary hate happening in the world, from everything in Palestine to the Black Lives Matter movement,” said Mals. “It resonated with me being a man of color, might [attract] somebody else of my color [to sign the pledge].”

Christina, a science major at FAU, who expressed her exposure to online hate speech on social media, was hesitant to sign the pledge. After reading the guidelines, she ultimately declined to sign it.

“I understand what they’re saying [and] I do like what you’re going for, [but] disbelieve that the pledge works,” said Christina.

FAU students Tyler Green (Left) and Jaelyn Jackson (Right) signed the pledge and were given a free bagel and cream cheese.
“As Florida Atlantic University ranks among the top universities in which Jewish students feel safe on campus, and with the rise of antisemitism nation-wide, our Student Government remains committed to promote peace and kindness across our university among all groups,” SG President Dalia Calvillo wrote in a Jan. 11 email to the UP.

Michael Cook is a Staff Writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected].

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Michael Cook, News Editor
Michael is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in public relations. He's passionate about film and photography, and his journey into journalism began when he served as an editor for his high school yearbook. Now, he aspires to become a television news producer.

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