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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

‘This isn’t appropriate free speech’: Antisemitic notes found on campus condemned by Faculty Senate senator

Following several notes and signs featuring antisemitic statements, physics professor Nickolas Solomey urged the Faculty Senate to take action against hateful speech, saying, “We must teach our science, our class without prejudice to race, religion, sex(ual) orientations and beliefs.”

A sign reading “Nikola Tesla — Jewish Physics” was found hanging inside of Jabara Hall earlier this week. Members of Faculty Senate addressed the antisemitic comment during their meeting on Monday. Photo courtesy of Faculty Senate.

One of the notes posted in Jabara Hall read “Nikola Tesla — Jewish Physics.” The term “Jewish physics” was a common phrase used during World War II by the Nazi party that denounced the works of Jewish scientists such as Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr.

This phrase also sparked a nationalist movement called “Deutsche Physik” in the early 1930s, which is best known as the “Aryan Physics” movement.

“I stand firmly behind free speech and the power of tenured research to freely research … This isn’t appropriate free speech,” Solomey said. “I helped with WSU Senate, and our administration denounce(s) these insulting notes, belittling such topics as science, as well as certain religions.”

Solomey said it wasn’t clear where the notes came from, but it was evident as to why they were being posted.

“It’s antisemitism,” Solomey said. “The German society used it for almost 20 years when it was controlled by the Nazi Party.”

Solomey’s statement comes after the rise in campus protests across the country over the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

More than 2,000 students have been arrested during protests across the nation in a span of two weeks. A protest was held at Wichita State outside of the Rhatigan Student Center on May 3 to show solidarity with those protesting at other universities in the U.S.

Solomey also said that some of the blame for the notes falls on “the limited educational background of KBOR as well as the campus protestors who could have instigated the notes being posted.”

The physics program at Wichita State was labeled “mission-critical” by KBOR in September 2023 when a new academic framework was created by the regents. Categorized under “maintain,” the physics program will attempted to be retained by Wichita State despite low enrollment.

“The Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) questioned the necessity of teaching many subjects as majors on our campus,” Solomey said. “Whoever (posted) such notes may have taken to heart both the KBOR initiative to belittle important subjects like physics, whatever the reason for those notes are antisemitism, anti-knowledge.”

It wasn’t clear if a police report was filed after the notes were found. If any student, faculty or staff member has been affected by the notes in Jabara Hall, a report can be filed directly to the Bias Incident Response Group. Those interested can also call Student Conduct and Community Standards at (316) 978-6681.

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About the Contributor
Jacinda Hall
Jacinda Hall, Podcast Editor
Jacinda Hall is the podcast editor for The Sunflower. Hall is a junior majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism and minoring in English literature. Her favorite quote is by Kurt Cobain: “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” In her free time, Hall likes to go to the gym, crochet and make fancy beverages. Hall's pronouns are she/her.

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