Some 73% of Jewish college students have experienced or witnessed antisemitism since the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year, a significant escalation from previous years, according to a study conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Hillel International. The survey, published on Wednesday, has uncovered a troubling rise in antisemitism on American college campuses.
Decline in safety and comfort
The sense of safety among Jewish students has notably decreased. Prior to October 7, 67 percent felt physically safe on campus, which dropped to just 46 percent post-attacks. Emotional safety perceptions also fell from 66 percent to 33 percent.
The survey indicated a decline in Jewish students perceiving their universities as welcoming and supportive. Before the attacks, 64 percent felt their university was welcoming, but this number decreased to 44 percent afterward.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO, expressed deep concern: “Jewish students are experiencing a wave of antisemitism unlike anything we’ve seen before. The reality post-October 7 is stark, with Jewish students feeling increasingly threatened on campus.”
University response criticized
The report highlighed a widespread dissatisfaction with how universities are addressing antisemitism. 77 percent of Jewish and 67 percent of non-Jewish students believed their university was not doing enough to address anti-Jewish prejudice before October 7. This dissatisfaction increased following the terror attacks, with 52 percent of Jewish students expressing dissatisfaction with their university’s response.
Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International, stated, “The survey’s findings are alarming, showing that antisemitism is causing Jewish students to conceal their identities. This underscores the importance of our mission to foster a vibrant Jewish life on campuses.”
**DEI Training Gaps:**
While over half of the surveyed students had undergone Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training, only 18 percent reported that these programs included information specific to anti-Jewish prejudice. However, there is strong support among both Jewish (84 percent) and non-Jewish (75 percent) students for including such content in DEI programs.
The survey, a collaborative effort between the ADL Center for Antisemitism Research and College Pulse, involved a nationally representative sample of 3,084 American college students, including 527 Jewish students, from 689 campuses. It was conducted in two waves, with the second wave taking place after the October 7 terror attacks.
Responding to these findings, ADL and Hillel have launched the Campus Antisemitism Legal Line (CALL), offering legal help to students encountering antisemitism. Since its inception, the service has seen nearly 260 requests for legal assistance from 152 campuses.