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Columbia, NYU and Brooklyn College get failing grades on confronting anti-Semitism: report

A watchdog group that monitors anti-Semitism issued a scathing report card that flunked Columbia University, NYU and CUNY’s Brooklyn College for failing to confront Jewish hatred on campus.

The report prepared by StopAntisemitism graded 25 colleges after asking students whether it’s “safe to be a Jew” on campus.

Columbia, NYU and Brooklyn College got an F.

Brandeis University, Tulane and the University Pennsylvania earned top grades of A or A minus.

At Columbia and NYU, the review said “students report a hostile and anti-Semitic environment when their identity or Zionist beliefs are expressed” — and that students groups approved resolutions supporting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against the Jewish State of Israel.

“Students feel the administration turns a blind eye to Jew-hatred,” the review for Brooklyn College said, adding: “Students DO NOT feel safe, saying they need to hide their Jewish identity as well as their support for Israel.”

The group cited examples of higher academia allegedly coddling those it described as anti-semites under the guise of free speech.

Nerdeen Kiswani, the former head of Students for Justice in Palestine at CUNY Law School and Hunter College, was chosen as a CUNY Law School commencement speaker last spring despite being named in a US Department of Education complaint alleging anti-Semitism and threatening to set a black man on fire for wearing an Israeli Defense Force sweatshirt, the report card said.

The report claimed that the Brooklyn College administration "turns a blind eye to Jew-hatred."
The report claimed that the Brooklyn College administration “turns a blind eye to Jew-hatred.”
Paul Martinka

The CUNY Law School student and faculty councils also approved resolutions supporting the BDS movement.

The report noted civil rights complaints had been filed with the US DOE alleging anti-Semitism at City University of New York campuses.

In February 2022, Jewish students filed a complaint with the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights alleging “pervasive anti-Semitism” from both students and faculty — including professors spouting antisemitic tropes and being described as benefitting from “white privilege,” the report card said.

The report also cited a civil rights complaint filed with the DOE in July — reported by The Post — that CUNY had become a “pervasively hostile environment for Jewish students.” 

Court papers cited incidents at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, where a Jewish professor “found swastikas carved into the door and her keyboard drenched in urine” and another Jewish professor from Israel being asked how many people she had killed.

The report card also highlighted how CUNY Chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez blew off at a City Council hearing in June on campus anti-Semitism, where students complained of harassment because of their faith.

“Discrimination targeting Jewish students for their religious identity or for their support of the Jewish State of Israel is not taken as seriously as discriminatory acts against other
marginalized groups,” the group’s report card said.

StopAntisemitism also said college administrators don’t get a pass when students approve anti-Israel resolutions.

“The BDS resolutions against Israel promoted and approved by student governments has created a hostile environment for Jewish students and has contributed to anti-Semitism,” Liora Rez, executive director of StopAntisemitism, told The Post.

The flunked New York colleges pushed back, defending their embrace of Jewish students and efforts to fight anti-Semitism.

“Columbia University is proud to have one of the largest and most active Jewish communities of any University in the country. Anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and racism have been and will continue to be addressed in the strongest possible way by the University,” said Columbia spokesperson Samantha Slater.

She referred to a statement from the university’s president, Lee Bollinger, in March 2020 that warned of anti-Semitism dangers while opposing the Ivy League school’s divestment from Israel.

NYU is “deeply disappointed by this ‘report card’ and disputes its conclusions,” said NYU spokesman John Beckman, touting its presence in Israel and the university’s “long, unwavering, and very public record of opposing academic boycotts of Israel.”

An NYU spokesperson disputed the report's findings.
An NYU spokesperson disputed the report’s findings.
Helayne Seidman

He also noted NYU updated its non-discrimination and anti-harassment policy to “explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of shared ancestry and ethnic characteristics, including anti-Semitism — utterly and unequivocally rejects antisemitism, and is a leader in combatting it on campus.”

NYU president Andrew Hamilton last spring also hosted a summit of college presidents, co-sponsored by Hillel International, the American Jewish Committee, and the American Council on Education, on fighting anti-Semitism.

“All this goes unremarked upon in this ‘report card,’” Beckman complained.

Brooklyn College also disputed its F grade.

“The report card does not take into account the steps Brooklyn College has taken to ensure that all students feel safe, including by joining Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative this year to fight antisemitism and support Jewish students on campus,” said college spokesman Richard Pietras.

CUNY issued a release Friday saying seven of its campuses — Baruch, Brooklyn, College of Staten Island, Hunter, John Jay, Queens and City College — are in Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative to address campus anti-Semitism. Hillel is the largest Jewish students’ advocacy group in the world.

“We have remained vigilant and unequivocal in our intolerance of anti-Semitism, yet we know more needs to be done globally and locally to combat antisemitism and bigotry in all forms,” Chancellor Matos Rodríguez said.

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