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Harvard, Stanford and MIT get an 'F' from ADL on antisemitism report card

Harvard, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were among the top universities to receive an “F” on a issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Thursday.

In a first-of-its-kind report, the ADL graded 85 colleges across the nation on their policies and administrative actions taken to protect Jewish students and combat antisemitism. Of them, two received an “A,” 17 received a “B,” 29 received a “C,” 24 received a “D,” and 13 received an “F.”

The report card comes at a time when the line between free speech and hate speech is being debated across the country and after a slew of administrative scandals on college campuses that followed the start of the Israel-Hamas war. On Oct. 7 last year, Hamas’ attack on Israel left 1,200 dead, and Israel’s military response has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians.

“Every campus should get an A – that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “Like all students, Jewish students deserve to feel safe and supported on campus.”

More:New report says most American Jews feel less safe in US after Israel-Hamas war

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After months in the spotlight, ADL gives Harvard “a” “F”

Harvard was one of the first universities to make national headlines about how those on campus were responding to the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. Days after war broke out, a coalition of student groups co-signed a letter blaming Israel for the attack, many of whom were then doxxed.

After an influx of reports of antisemitic actions, Harvard President Claudine Gay faced pressure to respond to concerns about students’ safety. When she obliged and testified before a House Committee on Education and the Workforce on antisemitism on college campuses alongside University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill in December, their comments sparked intense national criticism.

Gay testified that hate speech and calls for the genocide of Jews are antisemitic but said whether they violated Harvard’s code of ethics depended on context. Within a matter of weeks, Gay and Magill had both resigned from their positions.

Following several Jewish students filing a lawsuit against Harvard claiming it fosters antisemitism, the school’s interim president, Alan M. Garber, announced two new task forces: the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Antisemitism and the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab Bias— both began their work on campus in February.

“We must do much more to bridge the fissures that have weakened our sense of community, and the task forces, which have the full support of the University, will be critical to our success,” Garber said in a statement to the Harvard community.

More:A professor slept in his office to protest antisemitism. He's not the only one.

Only two schools receive “a” “A”

Other top schools have faced similar lawsuits and administrative scandals over reported rising antisemitism on their campuses since Oct. 7.

In March, two students from MIT, which also received “an” F,” filed a lawsuit against the university. With help from the StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice, the students allege MIT allowed antisemitism that resulted in intimidation, harassment, and assault.

Stanford, which also received a failing grade, is now facing a from a former lecturer who it suspended after he was accused of calling Jewish students “colonizers.”

The ADL said it created the report card to give parents, students, and others a mechanism to evaluate how healthy administrators are responding to antisemitism on campus “.

“As I travel the country, I’m constantly hearing from Jewish families agonizing over where they will send the kids to college,” Greenblatt said in the statement. School leadership must make serious changes to support Jewish communities on their campuses; we expect nothing less.”

The two schools that received an “A” from the ADL are Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Elon University in Elon, North Carolina.

About 35% of the Brandeis student population is Jewish, and it was the first private university to revoke official recognition of its Students for Justice in Palestine chapter after the Oct. 7 attack.

The ADL report card praised Elon University for its transparent process for reporting antisemitic incidents, an advisory council to address antisemitism and active Jewish student organizations.

Rachel Barber is a 2024 election fellow at ӣƵ,focusing on politics and education. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, as @rachelbarber_

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