ADL grades US campuses’ efforts to combat antisemitism, says many schools failing

Only two receive ‘A’ grade, while all Ivy League schools except Dartmouth College given D or F, in review of 85 higher education institutions

Illustrative: Pro-Palestinian college students participate in a protest at Columbia University campus in New York City on November 14, 2023. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)
Illustrative: Pro-Palestinian college students participate in a protest at Columbia University campus in New York City on November 14, 2023. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

The Anti-Defamation League has found that many leading United States higher learning institutions are failing to combat antisemitism, in a Campus Antisemitism Report Card it published on Thursday.

It was the first time such a report was issued, and according to the ADL, the report card “reviewed 85 schools and assigned grades from A through F, to give campus leadership, parents, students, alumni and stakeholders a mechanism to evaluate the state of antisemitism on campus and how schools across the country are responding.”

The ADL said the school selection represented the top national and liberal arts colleges, in addition to schools with the highest enrollment of Jewish students.

Notably, the only two schools to receive an A grade were Brandeis University and Elon University. Seventeen schools received a B, 29 schools received a C, 24 schools received a D and 13 schools received an F grade.

Among the leading schools given a failing grade were the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Princeton University, Tufts University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Of the eight Ivy League schools, only Dartmouth College earned a “passing” grade of C.

“Every campus should get an A — that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects. Like all students, Jewish students deserve to feel safe and supported on campus. They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate. But that hasn’t been the experience, with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before October 7,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.

Students participate in a protest outside the Columbia University campus in November. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

In addition to Brandeis and Elon, the report card highlighted the University of Miami, the University of Maryland, the University of Texas at Austin and Washington University in St. Louis as schools that have been “better than most” at combating antisemitism.

“At a time when antisemitic incidents on campus are at historic levels, administrators need to adopt new policies to address this scourge and have the willingness to enforce existing codes of conduct to ensure all students are safe,” Greenblatt said.

Since war between Israel and Hamas erupted six months ago with the terror group’s massive attack on the Jewish state, college campuses across the US have been a hotbed of protests and demonstrations denouncing Israel’s actions and supporting Palestinians. Student-led protests have remained largely peaceful, but antisemitic activity has been reported by Jewish students and faculty who have often felt targeted.

Illustrative: Students from Hunter College in New York City chant and hold up signs during an anti-Israel demonstration at the entrance of their campus on October 12, 2023. (Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images/via JTA)

A recent survey commissioned by Hillel International found the October 7 onslaught affected an overwhelming majority of Jewish parents and high school upperclassmen in deciding where to attend university. Many families ruled out schools over antisemitism concerns, the survey found, and a relatively small but significant proportion — 19 percent — said they were considering eschewing higher education for their children altogether.

“As I travel the country, I’m constantly hearing from Jewish families agonizing over where they will send their kids to college,” Greenblatt said, commenting on his organization’s report card.

“School leadership must make serious changes to support Jewish communities on their campus; we expect nothing less. Along with the Report Card, we’re providing guidelines and resources for how schools can improve campus climate and therefore improve their grades, and we look forward to working with them and other partners to achieve that reasonable goal.”

The ADL consulted with a panel of experts including Jewish clergy, current and former university presidents and chancellors, campus antisemitism initiatives and campus administration while conducting its report.

JTA contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: