Representatives from the FBI and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) led a Regis community forum on Oct. 16 to address the laws, politics, misconceptions and issues surrounding hate crimes and white nationalism.
The event, hosted by Regis Campus Safety, featured a presentation by Jeremy Shaver, senior associate director of ADL’s Mountain States Region. Multiple representatives from the FBI also spoke about civil rights, hate crime reporting, nuances of hate crime law and more.
Hate crimes, defined as felonies or misdemeanors motivated in whole or in part by hate, bias or bigotry, are on the rise in Colorado. In 2019, 139 hate crimes were reported in Colorado — a 40 percent increase over the previous year — according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation data Shaver shared.
Hate crimes often have a “double impact,” Shaver said, because they affect both victims and their communities.
“For the victim[s] … there’s very little they can do to defend themselves against something like this, because they’re targeted [based on] who they are,” Shaver said. “They can’t know when or where this is going to happen.”
Anti-Semitism, specifically, has increased sharply in Colorado, with the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported to the ADL tripling between 2015 and 2017, Shaver said. From 2016 to 2018 in Colorado, the yearly numbers of anti-Semitic incidents such as harassment, vandalism, threats and assaults were the highest in the ADL’s 40 years of record keeping.
Additionally, in 2018 Colorado ranked third in the nation for the number of incidents of white supremacist propaganda being reported, Shaver said.
ADL, FBI and Regis Campus Safety representatives stressed the importance of being proactive to report incidents that may be hate crimes. In September, a Regis faculty member was a victim of an anti-Semitic act of hate.
ADL also provided resources that may be used to help the University community understand hate crimes and prevent them from occurring.
“There needs to be a holistic, healthy, comprehensive way to deal with these things,” Shaver said. “It’s not enough to respond to a single incident and move on. You have to do the work to change culture and climate, and really [do] some deep work on a college campus.”