On April 11, 2024, ADL released the first iteration of its annual Campus Antisemitism Report Card, to assess the level of antisemitism on campus and how universities are responding. The goal was to incentivize action by universities to ensure a safe and welcoming campus and a commitment to no tolerance for antisemitism. The Report Card outlines a series of actions colleges and universities can take to address campus antisemitism. These actions are recommended for both institutions with high rates of antisemitic incidents and those with few to no incidents, to ensure all campuses are prepared if incidents were to take place.

Below is a guide that pairs the actions and policies ADL recommends that campuses implement with examples of best practices and guides on implementation.

Integrate Antisemitism into Appropriate Policies

ADL recommends that colleges and universities integrate a definition of antisemitism into their Codes of Conduct and/or other related policies. The definition should include a reference to Israel, Zionism or anti-Zionism. Definitions should either be thoroughly explained in the policy or clearly hyperlinked on the policy page. Such action is important to explicitly signal to the campus community that antisemitic harassment will not be tolerated on campus.

Policies that fall short of meeting the recommendation may include references to antisemitism that do not explicitly reference anti-Zionism, Zionism, or Israel, thereby failing to acknowledge that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism. Criticism of the Israeli government that does not transcend into anti-Zionism and antisemitism should not be part of the language or definition used.

Examples of Practices Earning Full Credit on the Report Card
  • Duke University, Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct: Antisemitic conduct implicates the Policy and can manifest in the Duke environment in a number of ways. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance defines antisemitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” Examples of antisemitic conduct that implicates this Policy include:
    • Repeated instances of antisemitic slurs directed toward an individual, regardless of whether that individual is Jewish.
    • Refusing to allow an individual to participate in any program sponsored or hosted by Duke because they are perceived to be from Israel, are associated with a Jewish organization, wears religious attire, like a kippah, or displays a religious symbol associated with Judaism, like a Star of David.
    • Defacing a Jewish employee’s or student’s property with a hateful symbol such as a swastika.
    • Using force or intimidation to obstruct the path of an employee or student because they are Jewish, perceived to be Jewish, or supportive of Jewish institutions or organizations.
    • Refusing to grant a student some expected benefit, such as a letter of recommendation, based on the perception that the student is Jewish, is associated with a Jewish organization, or because that student is perceived to be from Israel.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct: Antisemitism can be a form of intersectional discrimination or harassment based on religion and/or national origin. Antisemitism may manifest as engaging in any of the following conduct against an individual because the individual is or is perceived to be Jewish or because the individual is or is perceived to be from Israel: repeatedly using antisemitic slurs; defacing an individual’s property with a hateful symbol or word (e.g., a swastika); denying an individual access to or refusing to allow an individual to participate in any program sponsored or hosted by the University; using force or intimidation to obstruct the path of an individual; or refusing to grant an individual a benefit to which they are entitled (e.g., a letter of recommendation). Evidence of an individual’s perceived protected status may include, for example, association with Israel or with a Jewish organization, wearing religious attire (e.g., a kippah), or displaying a religious symbol associated with Judaism (e.g., a star of David). 

Offer Robust Incident Reporting Mechanisms

ADL recommends that colleges and universities have a clear, robust and easily findable way for members of the campus community to report incidents (i.e. via an easily accessible digital form that can be filled out and that sets expectations regarding response times). Such tools are valuable in ensuring that incidents that have been witnessed or experienced are promptly reported, investigated and addressed. With a 2023 ADL study showing that a majority of Jewish students are not reporting incidents on campus because they do not know what to do or because they fear potential backlash, having robust reporting mechanisms that prioritize easy access, swift action, and protection for the target is key to cultivating a safer campus climate.

Examples of Robust Reporting Systems that Earned Full Credit on the Report Card

The New York University Bias Response Line provides an online reporting form with clarification that a response should be expected within 48 hours of the business day following submission. Alongside the digital form and an email address, the website provides a list of FAQs and, for urgent situations, contact details for the police department, the campus safety department, and the campus wellness department.

The Brandeis Office of Equal Opportunity outlines a clear three-step reporting and adjudication process, with the option of filing a report via a digital form, via email, or via a phone call. Individuals reporting an incident via the digital form – which clearly outlines the different categories of discrimination – are assigned a unique report key code to review updates and responses to their report. Options to contact emergency services in the case of an urgent situation are also provided.

Establish a Task Force to Oversee Jewish Life and Antisemitism on Campus

ADL recommends that colleges and universities participate in Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative and/or develop a task force against antisemitism or focused on Jewish student life that is composed of relevant stakeholders (such as Jewish organizational representatives, Jewish staff members, or Jewish students). Task forces that jointly address antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate, and/or other forms of discrimination, meet ADL’s criteria and are encouraged, as long as they have relevant representation from the internal and/or external Jewish community.  

Task forces, or participation in Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative, are valuable in aiding colleges and universities in identifying major concerns regarding antisemitism on campus, providing recommendations regarding how to tackle the issues and safeguard the Jewish campus community, and raising awareness of antisemitism among the administration. Having Jewish voices form part of such task forces is crucial to ensure that all potential concerns are explored and that the Jewish campus community feels comfortable in confiding in the task force.

Task forces should aim to:

  1. Conduct an initial evaluation of the state of Jewish life and antisemitism on campus to guide the long-term strategy and aims of the task force.
  2. Establish clear and measurable goals with respect to improving Jewish life and addressing antisemitism on campus.
  3. Meet regularly to discuss the topics of Jewish life and antisemitism on campus, engaging internal and external stakeholders (including Jewish students and staff, Jewish student organizations, and the local Jewish community) as appropriate.
  4. Conduct research to assess Jewish life and antisemitism on campus, gathering data on incident rates, student satisfaction, and campus community concerns.
  5. Produce annual, or more frequent, reports on Jewish life and antisemitism on campus, outlining key recommendations based on the findings, concrete implementation plans, and progress updates.
  6. Work in coordination with other initiatives aimed at addressing other forms of hate on campus to cultivate allyship and drive a whole-of-campus approach to combatting harassment and discrimination.

Task forces and their internal faculty or external members should be publicly announced. Students who may be members of the task force do not need to be publicly announced if there are security concerns. Task forces should be charged with a clear mission and given a time frame for reporting. It should be clear to whom the Task Force reports and how the recommendations will be accepted, (for example will a Board of Trustees be tasked with voting on implementation?). Task Force recommendations and reports should be publicly available.

Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative & Similar Programs

Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative (CCI) “collaborates with higher education administrators to ensure a positive campus climate in which Jewish students feel comfortable expressing their identity and values, free of antisemitism, harassment, or marginalization.” By leveraging campus-specific data, training campus administrators and staff, and providing guidance regarding policy implementation, CCI allows administrators to explore the issue of antisemitism on their campuses, as well as take steps to effectively counter it.

Other similar programs include Academic Engagement Network’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative (ICCI).

While ADL will be closely assessing the progress and effectiveness of task forces in advance of our next annual report card release, examples of Task Forces that received full credit in ADL’s inaugural Report Card include:

  • University of Pennsylvania’s Task Force on Antisemitism has representation from members of the Jewish campus community, has been consulting with the broader campus community to receive constituent feedback to inform its operations, and has committed to providing consistent updates on three key areas of action to address campus antisemitism – safety & security, engagement, and education.
  • Columbia University’s Task Force on Antisemitism, developed in collaboration with its affiliated Barnard College, has representation from members of the Jewish campus community. The task force has committed to “engage in a serious and honest assessment of the sources and extent of the discomfort of [the Jewish campus community]..., review University policies, rules, and practices that impact the campus climate to make sure they protect the University’s core commitment to free speech, as well as to a safe and inclusive environment for all..., [and to] propose various other ways to sensitize the entire community to antisemitism, to counter it more effectively, and to support Jews at Columbia.” The committee released its first report in March 2024.
  • University of Maryland’s Task Force on Antisemitism and Islamophobia seeks to tackle both anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim hatred and has vowed to engage with members of both communities to inform the operations of the task force. The purpose of the task force is to “understand the causes of antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents, assess the effectiveness of existing preventive measures, and propose new initiatives to foster understanding, dialogue and support.”
  • New York University’s Center for the Study of Antisemitism does not follow the traditional task force model, but instead spearheads research to develop novel ways of combatting antisemitism, both on campus and beyond. As well as working with the University Hebrew and Judaic Studies departments, the center aims to bring together numerous departments to facilitate interdisciplinary research into antisemitism and develop unique programming to confront the issue head-on.

Mandate Antisemitism Education for All Members of the Campus Community

ADL recommends that colleges and universities offer mandatory antisemitism education for all members of the campus community, either via standalone courses or through integration into existing DEI initiatives. Colleges and universities in states with legislation that prohibits mandatory DEI education are instead urged to develop non-mandatory antisemitism education courses, encourage members of the campus community to partake, and track rates of participation among students and staff.

If you are interested in organizing an ADL-led antisemitism training for members of your campus community, please reach out to campus@adl.org to be connected to the appropriate regional office.  

Example of Robust Antisemitism Education Initiatives for the Campus Community that received full credit on the Report Card

Indiana University’s Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism offers “an active program of courses, lectures, conferences, and publications.” The institute invites experts on antisemitism to speak directly to the campus community through a speaker series, offers a series of courses on antisemitism, hosts a podcast, provides resources for independent learning, and promotes new antisemitism research via various channels.

Example of Robust Antisemitism Education Initiatives for Campus Administrators

Brandeis University’s Presidential Initiative to Counter Antisemitism in Higher Education aims to bring college and university leaders together to teach about and raise awareness of antisemitism in higher education, as well as equip them with tools and guidance on combatting it.

Accommodate Jewish Religious Holidays

ADL recommends that colleges and universities offer a clear and readily accessible accommodations policy for religious observances and promote awareness of the Jewish holidays. The latter can be fulfilled by adding the Jewish holidays to the school calendar or otherwise lifting up Jewish holiday-related events on campus hosted by Chabad, Hillel, or other organizations or community members to the same extent the university would uplift holiday-related events supported by other religious communities.

Such action is important in raising awareness of dates that are important for the Jewish campus community, fostering campus-wide appreciation for holidays and ensuring that academic conflicts with religious holidays are less likely to occur.

Sample Religious Accommodations Policies that earned full credit on the Report Card

Elon University’s Religious Observance Notification Policy offers an easily-accessible digital form that students can complete to request an excused absence during religious holidays. Alongside the form, the webpage provides guidance on the policy, the process for receiving an excused absence, major religious holidays, and expectations for how faculty should approach class and exam scheduling with religious holidays in mind.

Examples of Exemplary Promotion of Jewish Religious Holidays

Support Jewish Student Life on Campus

ADL recommends that colleges and universities collaborate closely with Jewish student organizations on campus, such as Hillels, Chabad, and Jewish Greek life organizations, to promote and support their activities and ensure that Jewish student life on campus is consistently thriving. Collaborating with external, Jewish organizations and/or local Jewish communities can also be helpful in bringing new initiatives to promote Jewish student life to campuses, for Jewish and non-Jewish students alike. Forming close partnerships with such groups can aid colleges and universities in further supporting the Jewish campus community in times of crisis.

Support of internal Jewish groups and collaborations with external Jewish organizations may include:

  1. Providing funding and resources to organize relevant events for the campus community.
  2. Sponsoring interfaith initiatives to foster communication and collaboration between various religious, cultural and faith groups on campus, including Jewish groups.
  3. Organizing additional security if needed to ensure the Jewish campus community is protected.
  4. Publicly promoting Jewish religious and cultural events on campus to the same extent the university would uplift holiday-related events supported by other religious communities.
  5. Regularly meeting with representatives of such groups to hear their concerns and suggestions and to ensure their voice is part of the decision-making process for relevant matters, including shaping DEI initiatives, task force operations and religious accommodation and non-discrimination policies. 

Promote Jewish Studies and Pro-Israel Programming on Campus

ADL recommends that colleges and universities offer students ample opportunities to engage with Jewish studies and pro-Israel-related educational initiatives and programming. As well as fostering greater awareness and understanding, such initiatives can promote allyship and civil discourse on campus. Jewish studies can be offered via specific modules, events and programming throughout the academic year, and through minors and/or majors. Pro-Israel-related programming can include classes, exchange programs, and discussion series offered to the campus community.  

In developing programs for Jewish studies, ADL urges college and university leaders to reject and distance themselves from harmful and often antisemitic academic efforts to “delink” the study of Zionism from Jewish Studies.

Examples of Robust Approaches to Jewish Studies

University of Pennsylvania’s Jewish Studies Program and the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies offer a Jewish studies minor and major, modules, fellowship programs, summer school courses, and other one-off events and opportunities for engagement with Jewish studies throughout the academic year. Via their webpage, educational resources for independent learning are provided via the Jewish Quarterly Review, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Examples of Robust Approaches to Israel Programming that received full credit on the Report Card
  • American University’s Meltzer Schwartzberg Center for Israel Studies is an educational center for Israel studies which offers Israel-related courses, events, and conferences to the entire campus community.
  • Brandeis University’s Schusterman Center for Israel Studies is dedicated to promoting Israel studies and Israel-related research efforts, sponsoring publications on Israel, hosting events and conferences, and providing educational resources to the entire campus community. The Center also hosts a Summer Institute for Israel Studies which seeks to work with higher education professionals to enhance their approach to teaching about Israel studies.

Promote Interfaith Initiatives on Campus

ADL recommends that colleges and universities offer interfaith programming or establish a group dedicated to developing interfaith initiatives throughout the academic year. Such initiatives are crucial in promoting dialogue and understanding and fostering allyship among groups of different faiths.

Examples of Robust Approaches

Oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement

ADL recommends that colleges and universities re-affirm their opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, whether a resolution has been proposed on campus or not, to showcase to the campus community that the movement is antithetical to campus values.

A backgrounder on the BDS movement can be found here.

Sample Positions Opposing BDS that received full credit on the Report Card

Speak Up Forcefully in Condemnation of Antisemitism

The U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism calls upon colleges to “issue clear and unwavering statements condemning all forms of hate, including antisemitism, especially in the wake of antisemitic incidents,” and to “treat antisemitism with the same seriousness as other forms of hate.” In some cases, speaking up may be required to meet Title VI obligations. ADL urges college and university leaders to embrace and use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism and to clearly and unequivocally speak out to condemn acts of antisemitism when they occur on campus to signal to the campus community that antisemitism on campus will not be tolerated.

Sample Statements

Speak Up Forcefully when Protests and/or Encampments Violate Campus Policies

When students violate campus policies or the law, there must be clear and immediate consequences. Members of the campus community must understand that while speech may be protected on campus, violations of time, place and manner restrictions – restrictions that are often necessary to ensure campus safety – are not. And while speech critical of Israel and supportive of the Palestinian cause is protected, threats, intimidation and harassment are not. Schools must be able to ensure adherence to their own rules, including through clear communication. Below is a list of sample statements denouncing protest- and encampment-related incidents.

ADL also recommends that colleges and universities make clear that non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, student codes of conduct, residential life policies, and faculty codes of conduct will be strictly enforced, and disciplinary measures taken in appropriate cases, up to and including suspension and expulsion. Colleges and universities should publicly and proactively support students in understanding their legal protections and commit to transparency regarding outcomes of complaints.

Sample Statements from Public Universities Following Protests
  • Following arrests of pro-Palestinian protestors on campus, University of Florida’s spokesman released a media statement: “the University of Florida is not a daycare, and we do not treat protestors like children – they knew the rules, they broke the rules, and they’ll face the consequences...Individuals who refused to comply were arrested after [the University police department] gave multiple warnings and multiple opportunities to comply.”
  • Following arrests of pro-Palestinian protestors on campus, the University of Texas at Austin released a statement: “Because of the encampments and other violations of the University’s Institutional Rules related to protests, protestors were told repeatedly to disperse. When they refused to disperse, some arrests were made for trespassing. Others were arrested for disorderly conduct. Protests are allowed at the University of Texas. Since October and prior to April 24, no fewer than 13 pro-Palestinian free speech events were held on the UT campus, and four more demonstrations have been held since Thursday, largely without incident. The University strongly supports the free speech and assembly rights of our community, and we want students and others on campus to know that protests on campus are fully permissible, provided that they do not violate Institutional Rules or threaten the safety of our campus community.”
Sample Statements from Private Universities Following Protests
  • Following the removal of an encampment on campus, Tulane University released a statement: “After issuing numerous warnings, Tulane University Police Department led a coordinated effort by the New Orleans Police Department and Louisiana State Police to remove protestors who have trespassed on our campus over the last two days and erected an illegal encampment on the edge of the lawn in front of Gibson Hall along St. Charles Avenue... Students who participated in this unlawful occupation have also been referred to the Office of Student Conduct for immediate disciplinary action. Seven students have been suspended. We are also actively looking into reports of university employees participating in this unlawful demonstration.”
  • Following the prevention of an imminent encampment on campus, Washington University in St. Louis released a statement: “On Saturday, April 27, a large group of individuals entered the Washington University campus with the intention of causing a significant disruption to the university... It quickly became clear through the words and actions of this group that they did not have good intentions on our campus and that this demonstration had the potential to get out of control and become dangerous. When the group began to set up a camp in violation of university policy, we made the decision to tell everyone present that they needed to leave. We arrested 100 individuals who refused to leave after being asked multiple times. This number includes 23 WashU students and 4 university employees...We are firmly committed to free expression and allow ample opportunity for voices to be heard on our campus. However, we expect everyone to respect our policies and we will take swift action to enforce them to their fullest extent.”

Investigate Student Groups Violating Campus Policies

ADL recommends that colleges and universities investigate whether anti-Israel and anti-Zionist student groups on campus that are openly glorifying and supporting terrorism or calling for eliminationist or violent actions, including but not limited to Students for Justice in Palestine, may be violating student codes of conduct or other applicable policies or laws. Where warranted, universities should take action to revoke official recognition and funding of such groups, making clear that university logos, facilities and other resources will not be used to further these activities.

Examples of Robust Approaches
  • In November 2023, Brandeis University issued a statement announcing the University’s decision to no longer officially recognize the Brandeis chapter of the National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), following an investigation that determined that the organization’s rhetoric – including open support for Hamas – was not aligned with the University’s policies.
  • In November 2023, George Washington University suspended its SJP chapter after an investigation confirmed that the group’s activities had violated university policies.
  • In February 2024, MIT suspended the MIT Coalition Against Apartheid student group following an unauthorized protest and takeover of a campus building. The interim suspension was announced alongside a committee investigation that would determine whether the suspension should be upheld in the long-term.
  • In April 2024, University of Pennsylvania revoked official University recognition of Penn Students Against the Occupation of Palestine following a month-long investigation into the conduct of the student organization that found that the group had failed to comply with university policies.

Update Security Protocols & Enforce Time, Place and Manner Restrictions

ADL recommends that colleges and universities review and update security protocols on campus to ensure that there is adequate staffing during student protests, and that criminal acts of harassment, vandalism, and assault are immediately investigated, and time, place and manner restrictions are enforced. Such action can prevent demonstrations from becoming unsafe.

Examples of Robust Approaches
  • Following October 7th, University of California, Berkeley re-assessed their security protocols, ramping up security in coordination with UCPD, hiring additional private security for campus rallies and protests, and providing administrative oversight during protests.
  • In January 2024, American University released a statement stating that “recent events and incidents on campus have made Jewish students feel unsafe and unwelcome,” which was followed with an outline of immediate actions being taken by the University to ensure the safety of Jewish students on campus. These actions included banning protests inside university buildings.
  • In February 2024, Columbia University established the Interim University Policy for Safe Demonstrations, defining the processes that need to be followed, with respect to registration and conduct, to ensure that demonstrations on campus are safe and adhere to the University’s policies.

Include Jewish Students in Campus Climate Surveys

ADL recommends that colleges and universities conduct annual campus climate surveys wherein the topics of Jewish student life and antisemitism on campus are addressed. While this was not an assessed criterion in the first iteration of the Campus Antisemitism Report Card, ADL believes it is a key step colleges and universities can take to understand the state of Jewish student life and antisemitism on their campuses and guide subsequent efforts.

Examples of Robust Approaches
  • University of Chicago’s 2016/17 Campus Climate Survey and report on religion focused on various groups, including Jewish students. The survey assessed how different groups perceive religious tolerance and respect on campus, rates at which different groups experience online and/or in-person discrimination, rates of self-censorship, and experiences of conflict between individual religious needs and classroom experiences. The University completed a follow-up 2023 survey, with results due to be published soon.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison's 2021 Campus Climate Survey and report focused on various groups, including Jewish students. The survey assessed how different groups feel on campus (e.g. welcome, safe, excluded), how different groups feel in different campus environments, and rates at which different groups experience hostile behavior.
  • Tufts University’s 2022 DEI Campus Climate Survey and report focused on various groups, including Jewish students. The survey assessed how different groups experience negative stereotypes and racial microaggressions, how serious a problem different groups perceive antisemitism on campus to be, lack of support for and DEI committee representation of different groups, and rates of self-censorship.

Promote Civil Discourse on the Israel-Hamas War and Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

The broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the current Israel-Hamas war, have activated strong emotions and differences of opinion and perspective for many people, including on college and university campuses. As such, ADL recommends that colleges and universities take a proactive approach to fostering civil and educational discourse among members of the campus community on the topic. As well as promoting awareness of the personal significance of the conflict to many members of the campus community, such action can cultivate allyship, reducing antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate in the process.

ADL’s 10 Ways to Have Conscientious Conversations on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict guide offers guidance to promoting such discourse.

Examples of Robust Approaches
  • Following the outbreak of the 2023 Israel-Hamas War, Dartmouth College immediately announced a series of public forums and other programming, driven by the College’s chairs of Jewish and Middle Eastern Studies, to foster dialogue and aid the campus community in understanding the background and nature of the conflict.  
  • Since October 2023, Elon University has focused on fostering civil dialogue on the topic of the Israel-Hamas War through a series of roundtables. These efforts are rooted in earlier University policies, dating back to 2014, when a program was established to “set up rapid response panels to discuss timely and controversial issues in the news.”

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