Alumni Coalition Pressures College Leaders To Fight Anti-Semitism

Alums for Campus Fairness found 80 percent of Jewish students experienced anti-Semitism

A Jewish solidarity march in March 2020 / Getty Images
October 14, 2021

A national coalition of Jewish alumni is pressuring universities to take a stand against rampant anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Alums for Campus Fairness recently published a study that found 80 percent of  Jewish students have personally experienced anti-Semitism on campus. The group, compromised of alumni from 45 colleges across the country, will share the results of its survey in over 3,000 letters to campus administrators.

"Today's universities take great pains to embrace and protect students from all races, religions, and backgrounds," the letter, a copy of which was shared with the Washington Free Beacon, said. "But Jewish students are often left to fend for themselves against discrimination. Administrators, like yourself, must take immediate steps to remedy this situation."

Hate crimes against Jews have been on the rise in recent years. The latest FBI crime statistics found that Jews faced more attacks in 2020 than Muslim, Asian, and transgender people combined, the Washington Free Beacon reported in September. More than 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents have been recorded on college campuses since 2017. Leaders of College Democrats, as well as the anti-Semitic Students for Justice in Palestine, have helped normalized anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric at universities.

Forty-four percent of students surveyed this year by Alums for Campus Fairness said they either experienced, or knew someone who experienced, physical threats for being Jewish. Nearly 70 percent of respondents said that because they were Jewish they avoided locations or events on campus. And almost all students said anti-Semitism is an issue on college campuses. Seventy-five percent said it was a "very serious problem."

Susan Price leads the Alums for Campus Fairness chapter at Tufts University, where her son Max is a senior. The Tufts student government last year moved to impeach Max Price after he objected to a referendum that blamed Israel for militarizing U.S. police forces.

Tufts administrators agreed to participate in Hillel International's Campus Climate Initiative after Alums for Campus Fairness sent their letter. As part of the program, which operates on 15 campuses, administrators will learn how to respond to incidents of anti-Semitism on campus. Susan Price considers this move a positive step for the university.

"It's great that they’re going to participate. They don't have to reinvent the wheel and they'll have someone helping them and giving them advice," Price said. "Tufts, and the University of North Carolina, have had a number of issues, so I'm glad they're participating."

Those issues include multiple thefts of religious materials and a Jewish student's dorm room's being vandalized with a swastika.

Avi Gordon, Alums for Campus Fairness's executive director, told the Free Beacon that administrators are already responding to the campaign.

"We've received direct responses from many universities," Gordon said. "We're certainly hopeful we will be able to spark a conversation and spark some change on campus."