The Algemeiner’s 1st Annual List of the US and Canada’s Worst Campuses for Jewish Students
Of all the great and varied challenges we face as editors of a Jewish publication, one that stands out in particular is the troubling experience — dare we say the plight? — of Jewish students on many North American college campuses.
Two recent studies, one by researchers at Brandeis University and the other by counterparts at Trinity College, found, respectively, that an astronomical 54% and 75% of Jewish students said they had witnessed or experienced antisemitism during the time period surveyed. Campus watchdog AMCHA Initiative released a report showing that the bulk of antisemitism occurs on campuses with significant Jewish populations, and that there is a strong correlation between hostility to Israel and antisemitism.
The Algemeiner’s extensive coverage of the issue, enhanced this year with the opening of our new Campus Bureau, effectively gave us a front-row seat in this arena, enabling us to witness and report on the breadth and extent of the phenomenon.
We wrote about the admiration for Adolf Hitler voiced by students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and we covered the violent anti-Israel protest at a movie screening at UC Irvine. We interviewed Hindu student leader Milan Chatterjee, who was hounded out of UCLA because he failed to support the boycott of Israel, simply aiming to keep his student government neutral. And we were the first to report on a course offered at UC Berkeley exploring how the Jewish state might be dismantled.
Our efforts to expose and highlight this shameful state of affairs led us to compile this first annual list of the “40 Worst Campuses for Jewish Students” in the United States and Canada. Inclusion on this list by no means stands as an indictment of the Jewish resources and often fine work being done by Jewish groups on many of these campuses. It indicates rather that these are the schools where antisemitic and anti-Israel hostility and intimidation have been greatest in frequency and intensity, posing the strongest challenges for Jewish students and faculty.
It’s also important to note that antisemitic incidents are by no means limited to the schools that made our top 40. Among the many other campuses that have seen notable incidents this past year are CUNY Kingsborough, University of Missouri, Western Washington University and Toronto’s Ryerson University.
Our goal in the publication of this list is first and foremost to draw attention to the problem of rising hostility faced by many Jewish students on campus today. Our hope is that the response to our ranking will be aspirational and prompt university administrators and other interested parties to give serious consideration to what can be done to ameliorate the condition of Jewish students, wherever they are enrolled. We do not necessarily believe that Jewish students should avoid these campuses, but do believe it imperative that prospective students and their families be fully informed about the environments they are poised to enter, and arrive prepared.
It is for this reason that we have also published a supplementary list of the “15 Best Campuses for Jewish Students,” to provide a snapshot of the desirable alternative that is within the reach of any school.
What does the ranking take into account?
While cognizant of the inherent shortcomings and imperfections of the practice of list-making in general, we have taken great care to produce a thorough and credible ranking system that is driven by a comprehensive analysis of many data points representing the full scope of campus life. We have also interviewed numerous experts, campus activists and students, to secure corroborative testimony and additional insights.
Among the many factors taken into account in the compilation of this list are: the number of antisemitic incidents on each campus; the number of anti-Israel groups, and the extent to which they are active; the Jewish student population, and number of Jewish or pro-Israel groups; the availability of Jewish resources on campus; the success or lack thereof of Israel boycott efforts; and the public positions of faculty members with respect to BDS.
This information was then condensed into a point-grading system, which produced the final hierarchy.
Please note that the descriptions accompanying the entries below are not intended to explain in full detail the placement of each college on the list, but rather to shed light on the state of affairs at different campuses through relevant anecdotes and highlights.
Definition of antisemitism
For the sake of clarity, we have characterized antisemitism as per the US State Department definition, which includes certain kinds of discriminatory attacks on Israel.
Thank you for taking the time to review this important compilation. We look forward to reading your feedback in the comments section below.
— The Algemeiner editors