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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Jewish students feel unwelcome, unsafe on campus

Jewish students at Berkeley had to be evacuated from a building to escape 200 demonstrators who'd shattered glass doors and broken into the hall. Students had invited Ran Bar-Yoshafat, deputy director of an Israeli think tank, to speak at the private event. Like most Israelis, Bar-Yoshafat is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Once in the building, the crowd assaulted two girls, said Sharon Knafelman, vice president of Bears for Israel. Her friend was called "Jew, you dirty Jew," and spat at, she told KQED.

Chancellor Carol Christ issued a statement saying the incident “violated not only our rules but also some of our most fundamental values.” Berkeley is investigating several allegations of battery and anti-semitic slurs.

Jewish students from elite universities told Congress members that their "complaints of anti-semitism had been waved away by university administrators, reports Anemona Hartocollis in the New York Times. Students accused their schools "of pandering to violent and disruptive protesters while minimizing the threat to Jewish students."

Wealthy Jewish parents are crossing Ivy League schools off their children's application lists, says Christopher Rim, who runs a very expensive college admissions consulting business. They're switching to Plan B, "schools in more conservative parts of the country," he told the New York Post. Parents hope schools such as "Wash U [in St. Louis], Emory [in Atlanta], SMU [near Dallas] and Vanderbilt [in Nashville]" will less tolerant of anti-semitism.

Is Southern Methodist University in Dallas a safer choice for Jewish students?

One student got into Penn, his dream school, last year, says Rim. Now, "after anti-semitic messages were projected onto campus buildings," he plans to transfer.

Some schools are marketing themselves as a safe place for Jewish students to study, reports Kate Hidalgo Bellows in the Chronicle of Higher Education. That includes Brandeis, which was founded in 1948 as an alternative for Jewish students excluded by Ivy League quotas. But some Catholic colleges are reaching out to Jews as well.

Brandeis ran a full-page ad in The New York Times proclaiming the university would not tolerate the “virulent antisemitism” found elsewhere, and the university's president, Ronald D. Liebowitz, penned a Boston Globe op-ed urging colleges to respond more forcefully to campus antisemitism, writes Hidalgo Bellows. In videos on the university's Instagram account, students talked about being Jewish at Brandeis.

“For Jewish students in America who want to have access to really incredible higher education,” Eitan said, “and be able, at the same time, not just to feel safe in their Jewish identity, but to celebrate their Jewish identity, Brandeis is the place for you.”

Catholic universities including Walsh and Franciscan in Ohio and Assumption University, in Massachusetts are inviting Jewish students to apply and to transfer.

Greg Weiner, the Jewish president of Assumption, argued in the Wall Street Journal: “Now that we (Jews) are finding we are less welcome than we had assumed in these universities and the mainstream, we might consider which institutions will fulfill our traditional love of learning.”

Florida's state universities also have promised an easier transfer process for Jewish students and others fearing religious persecution.

Talia Dror, a Cornell junior who testified before Congress on antisemitism last fall, told the Chronicle that one of her friends has transferred, but she's staying put. “I’ve worked my whole life to get into Cornell,” she said. “There is no way I’m going to leave just because a bunch of people are radicalized and hate Jews.”

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JK Brown
JK Brown
Mar 03

Imagine what may come. Oxford and Cambridge were finishing schools for the elite from the Reformation to around 1870. Similar also applies to Harvard and Yale in the US. Thankfully, they discriminated and those excluded transformed humanity. What might these students escaping the groupthink of the current elite status universities.

"Newcomen's religion had consequences greater than absence from a local census.  Dissenters, including Baptists, Presbyterians, and others, were as a class, excluded from universities after 1660, and either apprenticed, or learned their science from dissenting academies."
"At the same time that he chartered the world's first scientific society, Charles II had created an entire generation of dissenting intellectuals uncontrolled by his kingdom's ever more technophobic universities."
--Rosen, Willam, 'The Most…

Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith
Mar 04
Replying to

It's hard to plausibly defend a claim that the Cambridge of Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin was technophobic, and even more inaccurate to claim that it and Oxford were "finishing schools for the elite from the Reformation to around 1870", since their chief purpose was to train ministers for the Church of England, while the elite didn't bother with university at all.

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