Over 90% of Jewish college students claim antisemitism is a problem on campus, 80% say they’ve experienced it – survey

A new report has found a large majority of Jewish college students in the US see antisemitism as a problem on their campuses and many have personally experienced or heard of instances of hatred.

The survey, conducted by the group Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF), was conducted between the months of March and June among over 500 former and current college students. The study found that 95% of Jewish students recognize antisemitism as a problem on their campus, and three quarters of those respondents recognize it as a “very serious problem.”

Recent graduates were more likely to identify antisemitism as a “minor” problem, though a majority of them (57%) still said it was an issue. 

The survey also found 79% of respondents had personally experienced an instance of antisemitism on campus, with the report noting Jewish students attending a “state school” as opposed to a more expensive private school are “more likely to have been physically threatened themselves or know someone who was physically threatened.”

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Examples of these threats and offenses from unnamed students are included in the report, and they include everything from students openly arguing against “demonizing Hitler” to a student being told swastikas hanging around campus are not a big deal.

One campus police officer allegedly told a female student that she was “too sensitive” about a poster of Holocaust victims next to doctored images of aborted fetuses. Another student described having pennies thrown at them only to have people say, “you gonna pick that up, Jew?”

Jewish college students don’t appear to have much hope about the situation either. Only 16% of respondents said they thought the situation for Jewish students is improving on campuses. Nearly half (47%) said it is getting worse, while 37% said it is staying the same. 

“UConn has experienced seven antisemitic incidents in the year and three during Passover alone,” one University of Connecticut student said. “Each act has gotten bigger and bolder and the students have become frightened.”

At least one of those incidents involved a 21-year-old student who was arrested in April for spray painting a swastika on a building across the street from a Jewish learning center. A spokeswoman for the college noted that such hate is not tolerated, but added that the same student had been arrested twice before for spray painting swastikas on campus buildings. 

“The education Jewish students receive in college does not consist merely of credits towards their degree. It includes an education into the ugly reality of antisemitism,” the report notes, recommending college administrators act quicker and take a more firm stance against antisemitism. 

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