campus antisemitism (archive)
campus antisemitism (archive)INN:JTA

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today (Thursday) released its first Campus Antisemitism Report Card assessing incidents, Jewish life on campus and university policies and administrative actions related to combatting antisemitism and protecting Jewish students.

The Report Card reviewed 85 schools and assigned grades from A through F, to give campus leadership, parents, students, alumni and stakeholders a mechanism to evaluate the state of antisemitism on campus and how schools across the country are responding. Two schools received an “A,” 17 schools received a “B,” 29 schools received a “C,” 24 schools received a “D,” and 13 schools received an “F” grade.

“Every campus should get an A – that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects. Like all students, Jewish students deserve to feel safe and supported on campus. They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate. But that hasn’t been the experience with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before October 7,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “At a time when antisemitic incidents on campus are at historic levels, administrators need to adopt new policies to address this scourge and have the willingness to enforce existing codes of conduct to ensure all students are safe.”

The Report Card reveals that colleges must develop strong policies and procedures to address conduct that creates a hostile environment, while also swiftly enforcing those policies fairly when students, staff or faculty violate them.

Examples of better performing schools include:

· Brandeis University (A) was the first private university to revoke official recognition of its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter due to the group’s activity on campus in the wake of the October 7 attacks. Brandeis also made clear that antisemitic phrases such as “From the River to the Sea” are hate speech and are contrary to the university’s principles.

· Elon University (A) provided opportunities for the community to learn more about the Oct. 7 attack and encouraged occasions for dialogue, including an event entitled “Contextualizing the Conflict: Conversations about the Middle East,” which was attended by over 200 students, faculty and staff.

· University of Miami (B) President Julio Frenk released a statement “In Solidarity with Israel” on Oct. 9, 2023. The University has recently opposed calls for Boycott, Divestment, Sanction (BDS) and publicly condemned antisemitic incidents.

· University of Maryland (B) President Darryl Pines issued two statements after Oct. 7, the first immediately condemning the Hamas attack and the second ensuring the safety of Jewish students on campus and condemning acts of discrimination and all forms of hate. The school also increased campus safety measures and created a task force to provide recommendations on a strategy to confront antisemitism.

· University of Texas, Austin (B) has spoken out repeatedly against antisemitic vandalism on campus. Additionally, the university issued a strong statement in the wake of October 7.

· Washington University in St. Louis (B) Chancellor Andrew Martin issued a statement condemning antisemitism, writing that he was “deeply disturbed to learn that during gatherings on campus in the past week, antisemitic phrases were chanted and written on signs.” The University mandated antisemitism education for its campus community.

Many campuses across the country are not doing as well in responding to antisemitism. University of Hartford, Indiana University and University of Colorado at Boulder received a grade of C. D-rated schools include Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, University of California at Berkeley, and Rice University.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Tufts University and University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill are among the schools receiving a failing F grade.

“As I travel the country, I’m constantly hearing from Jewish families agonizing over where they will send their kids to college,” said Greenblatt. “School leadership must make serious changes to support Jewish communities on their campus; we expect nothing less. Along with the Report Card, we’re providing guidelines and resources for how schools can improve campus climate and therefore improve their grades, and we look forward to working with them and other partners to achieve that reasonable goal.”

ADL consulted with a panel of experts that included Rabbi Kevin Fried, Managing Director at the Jewish Graduate Student Initiative, Sally Mason, former president of the University of Iowa and Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan, Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland, among others, talked with campus administrators, and also looked at what the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism recommended to draw up a list of 21 criteria for assessment, categorized into: administrative action and policies, incidents on campus, and Jewish student life on campus.

The 85 schools selected reflect the top national and liberal arts schools, as well as schools with the highest proportion of Jewish students. ADL provided each school with a questionnaire to self-report which of the criteria they fulfilled or pledged to fulfill in 2024, ultimately receiving input from 84% of assessed campuses. ADL also conducted research to assess which of the criteria each campus fulfilled and to gather additional information, such as pending Title VI investigations, on each campus.

“It’s time for campuses to step up and protect our children from the hate and antisemitism that has proliferated on college campuses across the country this year,” said Emma Law-Oppman of Mothers Against College Antisemitism. “It is our hope that ADL’s Report Card serves as a much-needed wakeup call for schools to prioritize creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students. At M.A.C.A., our members are fully prepared and energized to demand a massive change from school leadership across the country.”

In a collaborative statement from the Jewish and Jewish Heritage Greek organizations: Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Sigma Alpha Mu, Sigma Delta Tau, and Zeta Beta Tau, Bonnie Wunsch, Executive Director of Alpha Epsilon Phi said, “We welcome ADL’s new Campus Report Card to assess the state of antisemitism on campus and policies to combat it. This tool provides critical information to answer the questions we are regularly fielding from students and their families. Not only is the moment for this now, but ADL is the right organization to do it.”

The Report Card website has a comparison tool to allow users to select up to three colleges for side-by-side comparison, enabling them to simultaneously view the grades and the fulfillment of criteria for all three.

The Report Card is part of ADL’s recently launched Not On My Campus campaign, calling on U.S. colleges and universities to commit to no tolerance for antisemitism. This campaign is a direct response to the significant rise of antisemitic incidents since October 7, with less than half (46 percent) of Jewish students surveyed feeling physically safe on their campuses during the fall semester of the 2023-2024 school year. The Not On My Campus website also provides online tools and resources for students, parents, and alumni, empowering them to demand more from college leadership, and building collective action to hold schools accountable for their inaction.