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Report: Antisemitism varies widely on American college campuses

Researchers at Brandeis polled 2,000 Jewish undergraduates at 51 schools.

An aerial view of the main campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. Credit: J. Jessee via Wikimedia Commons.
An aerial view of the main campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus. Credit: J. Jessee via Wikimedia Commons.

The Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., has released research revealing the most antisemitic academic institutions in America according to surveyed students. It comes in the context of Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the terror group’s murderous attacks and hostage-taking on Oct. 7.

The analysis draws on 2,000 Jewish students spread out at 51 colleges with large Jewish populations and replicates research methodology from a 2016 study.

Students reported a variety of levels of hate, with a majority describing a hostile climate against Jews. They also showed more concern for antisemitism from the political left rather than the right. Jews at colleges with the highest reports of bigotry expressed fears of violence.

The poll asked students how they identified ideologically. A majority (54% ) called themselves “liberal,” 7% “extremely liberal,” 15% “moderate” and 21% “conservative.”

According to “In the Shadow of War: Hotspots of Antisemitism on U.S. College Campuses,” the most problematic schools are designated “highest antisemitic hostility” and represent the upper 25% of worst hate, per student reports.

Twelve schools fall into this category: Boston University; Columbia University; George Washington University; New York University; The Ohio State University; Queens College, CUNY (City University of New York); University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; University of Michigan; the University of Pennsylvania; University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The report was written by associate research scientist Graham Wright; research associate Sasha Volodarsky; associate research scientist Shahar Hecht; and longtime director of the Cohen Center, Leonard Saxe, who also teaches at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management.

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