Nearly Three-Quarters of Jewish Students Experienced or Witnessed Antisemitism on Campus, New Survey Finds

A new study released today from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) and Hillel International found 73 percent of Jewish college students and 44 percent of non-Jewish students have experienced or witnessed antisemitism since the start of the 2023-2024 school year. By comparison, a prior survey conducted in 2021 found that 32 percent of Jewish students experienced antisemitism directed at them, and 31 percent of Jewish students witnessed antisemitic activity on campus that was not directed at them.

The national survey of American college students found that prior to Oct. 7, 67 percent of Jewish students said they felt physically safe on campus; after Oct. 7, only 46 percent felt physically safe. And prior to Oct. 7, 66 percent of Jewish students felt emotionally safe; after, only 33 percent felt emotionally safe.

Prior to Oct. 7, 64 percent of Jewish students viewed their university as welcoming and supportive of Jewish students; after Oct. 7, only 44 percent of Jewish students viewed their university as welcoming and supportive. Prior to Oct. 7, 64 percent of Jewish students felt comfortable with others knowing they’re Jewish; after Oct. 7, only 39 percent feel comfortable with others knowing they’re Jewish.

“Jewish students are experiencing a wave of antisemitism unlike anything we’ve seen before, but shockingly, non-Jewish students barely see it,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Since the Oct. 7 massacre in Israel, Jewish students feel increasingly threatened on campus – but college leaders are not doing enough to address this very real fear of antisemitism.”

“The data in this survey presents a disconcerting picture of the state of hate on campuses nationwide,” said Adam Lehman, President and CEO of Hillel International. “Widespread experiences with antisemitism, as reported in this survey, are driving Jewish students to hide their identities. This data reinforces the critical importance of Jewish spaces on campus, and of our mission at Hillel to build vibrant Jewish life.”

Additionally, even prior to Oct. 7, a majority of students, both Jewish (77 percent) and non-Jewish (67 percent) felt their university was not doing enough to address anti-Jewish prejudice. Since Oct. 7, 52 percent of Jewish students also expressed dissatisfaction with their university’s response to the situation in Israel and Gaza, compared to 25 percent of non-Jewish students.

More than half (56 percent) of all students surveyed said they had previously completed DEI training, but only 18 percent of those who had DEI training said that they had completed any training modules specific to anti-Jewish prejudice. Overwhelmingly, students, both Jewish (84 percent) and non-Jewish (75 percent), support including discussions about anti-Jewish prejudice as a part of DEI programming.

“No student should feel threatened or intimidated on campus. No student should feel the need to hide their religious or cultural identities. No parent should ever have to wonder whether it’s safe to send their kids to certain schools – but that’s the sad reality for American Jews today,” said Greenblatt. “University administrators need to wake up and recognize that Jewish students uniquely need protection now – and policymakers must step up, provide resources and enforce Title VI.”

With College Pulse, the ADL Center for Antisemitism Research (CAR) fielded a nationally representative survey of 3,084 American college students, of which 527 were Jewish, from 689 campuses nationwide. There were two waves: the first wave conducted from July 26 to August 30, and the second wave was fielded one month after the October 7 terror attacks, from November 6 to 10. About 70 percent of respondents who participated in the first wave survey also responded in the second wave, including nearly half of Jewish respondents.

Together, ADL and Hillel provide a range of resources to address antisemitism on campus; most recently, ADL and Hillel International launched the Campus Antisemitism Legal Line (CALL), a free legal protection helpline for students who have experienced antisemitism, along with the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. Since this service became available two weeks ago, there have been nearly 260 requests for legal assistance across 152 campuses.

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