City University of New York (CUNY)
City University of New York (CUNY) ISTOCK

A innovative program has launched that is providing grants to help campuses fight antisemitism.

The Academic Engagement Network (AEN), a national organization of faculty members and staff on university campuses working to oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel, awarded antisemitism education grants to four campuses: City University of New York (CUNY), Evergreen State College, the University of Minnesota, and Yale University.

“This innovative approach aims to go to the heart of the problem by educating our nation’s next generation of leaders about the multifaceted nature of contemporary antisemitism, while also fostering a more positive campus climate for the current Jewish community,” AEN said.

The Antisemitism Education Initiative grants provide up to $25,000 per year for up to three years to each institution. They support programs and resources designed to educate campus stakeholders about “the diversity of the Jewish experience, historic and contemporary manifestations of antisemitism, and strategies to improve inclusivity.”

The programs are specially created to meet the specific needs of each campus and include campus presentations on antisemitism, professional development opportunities for educators, coursework on antisemitism and Israel, and faculty-administrator alliances.

“Grant recipients will build institutional infrastructures that can be quickly and effectively activated in response to antisemitic incidents on campus, enabling faculty, staff, and administrators to form a united front to counter these challenges,” according to the initiative.

“Most university leaders, especially those tasked with advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals and initiatives, don’t yet have the expertise to address the lived experiences of Jewish students, faculty, and staff. And with an increasing number of Jewish students, and even faculty and staff too, reporting that they have to hide or disavow their Zionist identities and attachments to Israel in order to fit in and succeed, it is vital that faculty and administrators work collaboratively to create more welcoming, inclusive learning and workplace environments,” AEN Executive Director Miriam Elman said.

“Our hope is that the new AEN-funded Antisemitism Education Initiatives will provide DEI leaders and university administrators with the knowledge, awareness, and strategies that they need to be good allies to the campus Jewish community.”