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August 25, 2022 3:13 pm

University of Southern California Vows to Implement Recommendations for Fighting Antisemitism

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

The University of Southern California campus. Photo: Padsquad19 via Wikimedia Commons.

The president of University of Southern California (USC) has pledged to implement several recommendations for fighting antisemitism included in a new report by the school’s Advisory Committee on Jewish Life.

The committee was formed in January after incidents of antisemitic social media activity and bullying raised concerns about the safety of Jewish students on the campus. One such case — involving a former student government leader who resigned after facing a campaign of antisemitic harassment — is currently under investigation by the US Department of Education.

On Tuesday, USC president Carol L. Folt said the committee’s recommendations provide “tangible direction across nearly every aspect of Jewish life at USC,” according to a letter from Folt to the USC community.

“The next phase is implementation, and while many of these recommendations are already underway, we will work to implement them as quickly as we can,” Folt continued. “I want to thank the committee members for their thoughtful and respectful approach to these complicated issues.”

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In its report, the committee recommended that the university update its anti-discrimination policies to explicitly prohibit harassment of Zionist students, emphasize its opposition to the campaign to boycott Israel, and educate new students and staff about antisemitism.

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit focused on combating antisemitism on college campuses since 2015, said her organization is “thrilled” by the report and commended its proposal of new protections for Zionist students.

“These are all important recommendations that, if faithfully implemented, will improve the campus climate for Jewish students and ensure that all USC students, regardless of identity, will be equally protected from behavior that threatens their safety or limits their ability to fully participate in campus life,” Rossman-Benjamin said in a statement. “We look forward to the implementation of these recommendations and applaud the committee members and President Folt for their time and dedication to combating campus antisemitism.”

Ariella Loewenstein of the Anti-Defamation League’s Los Angeles office, who served on the Advisory Committee, also welcomed the report, praising it as “a strong first step toward ensuring the safety and well-being of Jewish life at USC.”

“Now the hard work of implementation begins,” she added. “We look forward to continuing to serve on JLAC, as a standing committee, to make certain that the recommendations are executed swiftly and effectively and that Jewish and Zionists students are protected from bullying, harassment, and intimidation on campus.”

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