Hillel, Secure Community Network Launch Program to Enhance Security on College Campuses



October 8, 2020

WASHINGTON – Hillel International and the Secure Community Network announced today the launch of the Hillel Safety and Security Program to provide security support, training, and incident response across the Hillel movement. Through the partnership, SCN will embed a full-time Director of Safety and Security within Hillel’s Schusterman International Center to address the security threat posed to Jewish students, professionals, programs, and facilities on college campuses across North America and around the world.

The partnership between SCN, the official safety and security organization of the organized Jewish community of North America, and Hillel International will provide on-the-ground security support for Jewish life on campus as universities face a disturbing rise in antisemitic activity. It will also support Hillels as they respond to security concerns related to anti-Israel activity on campus, including boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

“The safety and security of all Hillel students and professionals is of utmost importance to Hillel International and the Hillel movement,” said Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International. “Through the Hillel Safety and Security Program, we will provide campus Hillels access to enhanced resources, training, and support to anticipate, mitigate and respond to security threats, so that all Jewish students can enjoy safe and secure Hillel experiences. We are fortunate to have in the Secure Community Network a strong and sophisticated partner with expertise in how to protect Jewish communities while ensuring Jewish life continues to thrive unabated.”

“Hillel’s network of dedicated student leaders, professionals, and volunteers is a critical aspect of the broader Jewish community and its future, so ensuring its safety and security is a high priority,” said Michael Masters, SCN’s national director and CEO. “SCN has been proud to work with Hillel as part of our pilot Campus Security Initiative for several years, and this new program will expand our work to formally address safety and security concerns for Hillels and Jewish life on campus across North America.”

John D. Stemen will serve as the first Hillel Director of Safety and Security. Stemen has nearly 20 years of experience in criminal investigations and program management, with expertise in threat evaluation, dignitary protection, and incident response, as well as a long history of supporting campus organizations as a lay leader with the Zeta Beta Tau Jewish fraternity. He is a former supervisory special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and previously served with the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service. He also has experience with the University of Florida and Gainesville (Fla.) Police Departments and a J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

In this new role, Stemen will provide extensive training for Hillel professionals through individual and small group programs, online workshops, and simulations. He will provide consultation and support for Hillels facing security challenges and develop recommended minimum security standards across the Hillel movement. Stemen will also serve as a thought leader on issues of security, antisemitism, and emergency preparedness in Jewish and higher education communities.

“For Hillel to achieve its mission of nurturing the next generation of Jewish leaders, college students need to feel safe within Hillel and across college campuses,” Stemen said. “I’m excited to work with Hillel professionals, lay leaders, and students to build security tools that enhance safety and security while maintaining Hillels as an open, welcoming place on campus.”

About Hillel International

Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

About Secure Community Network

The Secure Community Network (SCN), a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is the official safety and security organization of the Jewish community in North America. Founded in 2004 by The Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, SCN’s team of intelligence, law enforcement, homeland security, and military professionals work with communities and partners across North America to develop and implement strategic frameworks that enhance the safety and security of the Jewish people through intelligence and information sharing, developing and implementing best practice policies and procedures, undertaking assessments, identifying physical security solutions for organizations facilities, delivering training, and providing consultation as well as supporting incident response. Working on behalf of 146 Federations, the 50 largest Jewish non-profit organizations in North America and over 300 independent communities as well as with partners in other sectors, SCN is dedicated to ensuring the safety, security, and resiliency of the Jewish people.