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Survey Reveals Most Jewish Students Dissatisfied with Universities’ Responses to Antisemitism

Jewish college students are expressing in a new survey increased frustrated with the lack of response from university presidents and leadership to ongoing antisemitism on campus.

Adam LehmanAdam LehmanThe online survey was conducted between Feb 5-7, by Benenson Strategy Group on behalf of Hillel International, and included 300 Jewish college students. It found that 57% of students are not satisfied with the response of their administration to acts of violence and hate on campus since Oct. 7.

Antisemitism on campus has increased seven-fold since the Oct.7 Hamas attack in Israel compared to the same period last year, the highest number of incidents (more than 940) on record.

While many colleges and universities have created antisemitism task forces to help solve the problem, this latest poll suggests that Jewish students strongly prefer that universities enforce their own existing rules and regulations rather than create new task forces. Roughly 39% students responded that stronger responses and consequences from their administration toward students who violate the school’s existing code of conduct already would make them feel safer, compared to only 16% who said a new task force would improve their sense of safety.

“New data reveals what we already know to be true: Four months after October 7, Jewish students are still feeling the aftershocks of Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel's response through the pervasively hostile environment toward Jewish and Israeli students that universities have allowed to persist on college campuses,” said Hillel International President and CEO Adam Lehman. “Our work is far from over. Even as Hillels do everything possible to support Jewish students on campus facing these unacceptable conditions, we need our university partners to do the same.”

Some 56% of Jewish college students said their lives have been directly impacted by antisemitism on campus since Oct. 7, according to the survey. Students said they feel unsafe on campus for being Jews – 37% they have had to hide their Jewish identity and 23% said they felt unwelcome in a space on campus because of their Jewish identity or support for Israel; 29% of Jewish students reported having had a professor say something antisemitic or anti-Israel. Some Jewish students, 7% survey, have considered transferring or leaving school because of the climate for Jewish students.

The survey comes as universities seek solutions to the rise in antisemitism and polarizing discourse on campus and social media. Hillel is continuing its work with universities to educate administrators on antisemitism and how to create a positive campus climate for Jewish students, including through its Campus Climate Initiative, which will be expanding this spring.

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