Despite Hindu protest, College of New Jersey refuses to withdraw its newspaper labelling Hinduism as “unforgiving”

Despite Hindu protest, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing is refusing to withdraw printed copies of its student newspaper “The Signal” from various locations, which states “Hinduism is an unforgiving religion”.

“…we decline your requests to retrieve printed copies of The Signal or to remove the article”, “The Signal” Editor-in-Chief Emmy Liederman wrote yesterday in an email to distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest. The printed January 29 issue of “The Signal” (Spring 2020 No. 1) in PDF, hosted by Issuu, carrying this objectionable statement, also continues to be posted on “The Signal” website.

It was highly inappropriate and insensitive for the newspaper of a “Top Public College” funded by tax dollars and student fees (many of whom were Hindu) to belittle Hinduism, world’s oldest and third largest religion with about 1.1 billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought; Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, said in Nevada today.

Despite repeated requests through emails by Rajan Zed to the College President Dr. Kathryn A. Foster and others, the student newspaper containing “Hinduism is an unforgiving religion”, continues to be available in many campus locations and its website. This type of continual and unwarranted denigration of their religion was heartbreaking for the Hindu community in general and the Hindu student population of TCNJ in particular, Zed noted.

Zed had also urged New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith Ellis to launch an enquiry into it; and TCNJ Trustees Chair Susanne Svizeny and President Foster to offer a formal apology to the Hindu community. Zed is also requesting an introductory article about Hinduism in the next edition of “The Signal” to clear the misconceptions thus created.

Such a derogatory statement against a religion coming out of a public educational institution was really shocking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful Hindu community; which had made lot of contributions to New Jersey, USA and society in general; and continued to do so; Rajan Zed added.

Is this how TCNJ accomplishes its Mission of developing “responsible citizens”, Vision of serving “as a national exemplar of public higher education”, Values of “treat each other with civility and respect” and “committed to building a diverse and inclusive community”; Zed wonders.

Rajan Zed further said that Hindus were for free speech and artistic expression as much as anybody else if not more. But faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it hurt the devotees.

The feature-article, which began with “Hinduism is an unforgiving religion”, was written by “Nation & World Editor” of award-winning “The Signal” (among the oldest collegiate weeklies, since 1855).

“Highly selective” awards-winning TCNJ, on 289 tree-lined acres, enrolls about 7,400 graduate and undergraduate students and offers over 50 programs.

There are about three million Hindus in USA. New Jersey reportedly has the highest percentage of Hindus in the nation.