People walk through Harvard Yard on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass..

People walk through Harvard Yard on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.. (John L. Micek/MassLive)

(Tribune News Service) — Harvard University, Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Massachusetts Amherst received failing grades in the Anti-Defamation League’s most recent campus antisemitism report card.

“ADL produced this Report Card during a time of incredible volatility on college campuses. It takes the temperature at a moment in time and provides a roadmap for improving campus climate,” the ADL wrote on its website.

Of the 85 universities or colleges rated, ADL assessed 10 institutions based in Massachusetts.

Those included: Amherst College (B), Boston University (C), Brandeis University (A), Harvard University (F), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (F), Northeastern University (C), Tufts University (F), University of Massachusetts Amherst (F), Wellesley College (D) and Williams College (C).

Brandeis University, which received an A grade, was only one of two institutions that received the grade out of 85 universities and colleges.

The report card included institutions that had the highest percentage of Jewish student populations and 60 of the colleges were selected by Hillel’s Top 60 Jewish colleges guide.

The top 30 national colleges and top 10 liberal arts colleges were also selected based on US News and World Report. Institutions that were almost entirely Jewish with little publicly available data on the student makeup were excluded from the 85 chosen.

Each of the colleges and universities were assessed based on 21 criteria which were broken down into three groups: administrative action and policies, incidents on campus, and Jewish student life on campus.

Additionally, a questionnaire was distributed on the campuses to allow the institutions to self-report; researchers gathered incident rates and high-profile investigations; a short survey by College Pulse sampled 160 Jewish college students to help weigh the ranked categories; and campus stakeholders such as campus Hillel and Chabad directors provided input.

The four Massachusetts institutions with failing grades had varied reasons for the poor assessment but each had a high or medium number of severe antisemitic and anti-Zionist incidents.

Some had hostile anti-Zionist student government activity and student groups, and all had many antisemitic speakers or programs on campus, according to the civil rights group.

Harvard’s and MIT’s presidents made headlines in December after joining a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism with the University of Pennsylvania president.

During the hearing, each president equivocated over a question about whether calls for genocide violated their code of conduct. Each said that those calls would depend on the context.

Harvard President Dr. Claudine Gay and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill apologized and later resigned.

Dr. Sally Kornbluth, the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received support from the school’s governing body following the hearing and still remains president.

The House Education and Workforce Committee launched an antisemitism investigation into MIT, and subpoenaed Harvard for its failure to produce “priority documents” related to the antisemitism investigation.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst also made its share of news after 56 students and one faculty member were arrested for trespassing at the school during an October pro-Palestine rally.

Another student was arrested in November after punching a Jewish student and spitting on an Israeli flag at a demonstration on campus Friday, the university’s center for Jewish life said.

In one instance at Tufts, accusations of antisemitism and Islamophobia spiraled during a student senate meeting.

The meeting was intended to discuss proposed resolutions regarding the Israel-Hamas war.

Three of the four resolutions were passed, including a resolution for the institution to divest from “Israeli apartheid;”, end the sale of Israeli products in dining; and a resolution that the president and administrative acknowledge the “genocide in Gaza” and apologize for previous statements they have made, according to the student group the Coalition for Palestinian Liberation at Tufts.

During the conversation, Jewish students were reportedly spat on, told to “Go back to Israel,” were told nobody wanted them at the institution, and were called names, Tufts Hillel director Rabbi Naftali Brawer wrote on social media.

The 85 institutions were in part assessed by a panel of experts varying from former college presidents to nonprofit leaders to Jewish student organization representatives.

Among those on the panel include Sally Mason, the former president of the University of Iowa; Dr. Jeffrey Kopstein, professor of political science and the director of the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of California, Irvine; Dr. William “Brit” Kirwan, Chancellor Emeritus of the University System of Maryland, and Libby Anderson, CEO at Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.

Each of the institution’s grades may be updated on a rolling basis based on additional information but an overall update, which includes expanding the number of institutions assessed, will be done on an annual basis.

If you are a current student or alum at one of the 85 colleges and universities on the report card, you are able to add your feedback by filling out a form.

©2024 Advance Local Media LLC.


Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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