Letter

To the Adult Board,

I need to make this incredibly clear:

Hillel of Buffalo is in a crisis.

Unfortunately, this crisis is not caused by Anti-Semites, Pro-Palestinian Radicals, Hezbollah Supporters, or even Neo-Nazi’s on campus. Rather, this danger to our community is Jordan A. Richmond.

When Jordan was hired, he was one of two applicants; however when you pick the lesser of two poisons you are still, indeed, picking a poison. It is unfortunate that I was not present at his interview, because despite my lambasting of the candidate that I met, she should have been hired over him. No matter how awful she could have possibly been, she would have, in no way, been able to cause damage to the sheer magnitude that Jordan has managed to reach. What he has been able to destroy in one semester is staggering. In fact, I’m glad that Mr. Richmond considers himself Jewish – despite a total lack of Jewish Education, Culture or Connection to the Jewish Community – I can only begin to imagine the terror he would unleash on this campus if, in fact, he were on the other side and an anti-semite.

Our Hillel is Decimated. Do not delude yourselves into thinking otherwise. Do not let him sugar coat for you a pill which is deadly to swallow.

Jordan claims to have been in the camping industry for 22 years. At his current age, that would mean that he was a camping professional at age 5. How industrious. He says that for these twenty two years – starting as a gifted five year old executive – he spent them in the Jewish Camping Industry.

However, he has no ability to read Hebrew, knows none of the blessings – which he would be required to say at least three times a day regardless of whether or not he knows Hebrew, and as a Fifth Year Linguistics Student with a passing familiarity with Child Language Acquisition Theory it would stand to reason that he would at that early of an age at least be able to memorize the prayers he was saying three times a day for twenty two years, unless either a) he was not in fact in Jewish camping or b) he was in Jewish Camping, perhaps as a Janitor or c) he wasn’t paying attention for twenty-two years, either way, none of these paints a promising picture.

He has consistently changed his story for how long it took him to acquire his degrees. I have been told that it has taken him seven years for his first degree, one year for his second degree, other students have been told that it took him four years for each and others different figures and percentages all amounting to a total of eight years. Regardless of how long it took him is not of concern to us – we honestly don’t care – it’s a blessing that he received them. What concerns us is that he is so over protective of his ego, that his ego is so easily tarnished, that he is willing to blatantly lie to students to protect himself for something so ridiculous and petty.

At what has come to be known ‘The Camp Lakeland Fiasco’ among the students, a student from AEPi was hazed.

He was left, on a freezing cold night, in the middle of the woods, without his glasses, and without a flash light, in the darkness, and left there to find his way home. He came home, hours later, his body cut up, and thorns embedded in his legs – he had to wait until he returned home to UB almost a day later to be able to seek out care.

Jordan understood that this was going on, to claim otherwise would have meant that he was blind. He said nothing. I can only assume through his silence that he condoned these activities. I base this assumption further on how proud he was when he told me of his own horrific hazing while he was involved in a fraternity. There is nothing Jewish about humiliating another person, it stands against everything our faith has taught us. Further, since Mr. Richmond is the adviser of AEPi he too is culpable for their behavior. As the Jewish ‘adult’ – and I use that term incredibly loosely – representing Hillel on the trip, he had an obligation to look out for the safety and well being of the student and he did neither. He should be ashamed, and the false apologies from him, at this stage in the game, are nothing more than lip service. If the student decides to sue Hillel I have no doubt in my mind that he will win and I would support him fully if he chooses to seek restitution.

Further, the fact that Mr. Richmond consistently disappeared on this trip, on a camp ground that took up hundreds of acres, with no cell phone usability, and limited access to telephones was dangerous. Had an emergency occurred, there would have been no way to assure that help would be able to be quickly mobilized. In an emergency, every second counts. As someone who says they are Red Cross Certified, Jordan should have known better.

Jordan A. Richmond has so offended people on this campus, that they will no longer work with Hillel, despite numerous apologies that I as well as others have made on behalf of the organization – Mr. Richmond, again, remains silent; we have been unable to get former key contacts to work with us as of this moment.

I was personally accosted by a parent for inappropriate emails that went out on the list serve by his ‘Fellows’ that were supposed to be under his direction, and the fact that the only thing the organization is doing at present is smoking hookah is an embarrassment.

Mr. Richmond regularly acts unprofessionally – despite claims that he is an ‘amazing manager’ his actions – which are the only thing that one should ever be judged on – say otherwise. He constantly attempts to play students off one another, to no success – students talk, we know what he’s up to. When a student ever expresses any concern his immediate reaction is “Do you hate me or what!?” – whether we hate him or not should not be his concern, it his job to act professional, not like an undergraduate frat boy, it is unfortunate that he has not been able to make this distinction. Despite the numerous times he has waxed eloquent about his world experience, his inappropriate behavior shows a much more sinister side. He has made sure to place fellows around him (with the exception of one) who are nothing more than sycophants, serving to boost his ego and tell him how well he’s doing. No matter how many times the emperor was told he looked gorgeous, the fact of the matter was the he was wearing no clothes.

Hillel of Buffalo is lost, our Jewish Community on campus is torn apart, and ripped to shreds. We are no longer a light among the nations (of which there are over a hundred represented on this campus) to turn to.

I have met Muslims and Christians who know more about the Jewish faith than he does – this is dangerous. For some, on this international campus where over 180 countries are represented, he is the first Jew anyone will ever meet…imagine the damaging impression he has now left of our community. For him to say “having a Rocking Yom Kippur” indicates such a level of naivety, I can only imagine what he would say to someone who is sitting Shiva. This is completely neglecting the time that he served imitation crab meat – which while imitation, still has crab flavoring and extracts, or the fact that our Sukkah wasn’t Kosher because it had no view of the sky. The damage to the community by his ignorant and foolish behavior is manifest.

Jordan is impossible to work with because he chooses to be militantly ignorant. He refuses to take anyone’s advice and leaves people with a nice amount of lip service while nothing ever changes or is actually accomplished.

Jordan is all after taste with no actual content.

Mr. Richmond will consistently say that we are “Co-Chair” of the campus recycling program. Please ask him what that means and what, as co-chair, we have accomplished other than receiving another title. We have had so few Shabbat services this semester that we are loosing students rapidly and it is not, as Jordan wishes people to believe, that we’ve engaged so many students so rapidly, that we’re loosing them. It is because it is Mr. Richmond doing the engaging, and he doesn’t know what he’s engaging them for.

He is, indeed, above all else an actor.

He claims to have a successful company in Colorado, whether you believe that is open to your personal belief (though perhaps a five year old camping executive prodigy is capable of such things) however I – and many others who have no confidence in him – believe that his application to Hillel was nothing more and nothing less than a final act of desperation.

I would understand why he applied to Hillel if he had previously, any connection to the Jewish community – which he does not, and after making some good money, wanted to give something back, and so chose to take a three year long sabbatical to help and to connect with youth.

In a meeting I had with him over Coffee after The Camp Lakeland Fiasco, I questioned him about this and he said, quote “I’m here for three year so I can recruit students for my company…I can say I have Jewish students from Hillel and set them up with camps…I can forge a relationship with my company and Hillel.”

Jordan’s motives are obvious even to the casual observer. Since day one he has had his interests – not the safety or the interests of the students for which he is supposed to work and represent, ahead of theirs. It is an embarrassment.

However, despite Jordan’s claims of working 16 hours a day students who were assigned community service hours to Hillel as of two weeks ago, had not had their forms processed through UB’s Computer System despite completing their Community Service hours at least a week because Jordan was tardy with the paperwork and then complained bitterly when students asked him again to submit it. These students financial aid, housing december graduation, course registration, ability to eat, depend on that paperwork being turned in.

I, and the other students, hold him personally and financially responsible for any late fees associated with this gross dereliction of duty, that are imposed by the University and we have directed those students to seek legal council from Group Legal Services on campus as required.

When Heather McArthur was going to go to the board to tell them what was going on, Jordan asked her to lie and say that “nothing was going on” it was all “restructuring” but this is again is behavior we see from someone who is totally desperate – had I known when I was reading a Street Car Named Desire years earlier in high school that one day I’d meet Blanche DuBois, I would have saved a copy of the script for him to sign.

The students of Hillel of Buffalo are reclaiming our organization as of now, and we are prepared to fight Tooth and Nail for it. It is time for us to clean up from this disaster and in the spirit of the Maccabees to reclaim and re-anoint the Jewish Soul on this campus and it is time for Jordan’s reign of terror to be put to a stop – not at the end of this year, not at the end of this semester, but now.

If he is unable to be terminated for breech of contract due to his conduct, jeopardizing a students life or any other of his numerous questionable acts than it would behoove us just to buy out his contract, and be done with him. I assure you the damage he will cause to our reputation if he stays here far outweighs whatever we would be paying him over his three year tenure. Our investment in his termination will be the best investment we have ever made.

We are taking our Hillel Back from the hands of this tyrant.

For the Majority,

Matthew L. Schwartz (Matan Ar’ye Schwartz)