(Los Angeles, CA – August 4, 2022) – On August 4, StandWithUs launched its second national letter campaign to nearly 3,000 university leaders, highlighting 5 key issues of concern to Jewish students. The letter stressed the importance of fighting bias and discrimination against Jewish students as part of broader Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and social justice efforts on campus. As the letter states, “If your administration and DEI offices prioritize social justice issues, then combating antisemitism on campus should be a major focus. While Jews in the United States comprise only 2.4 percent of the population as of 2020, the Jewish community is the greatest target of religiously-motivated hate crimes—a staggering 55 percent of all such hate crimes, according to the latest FBI data.”
The letter is prompted by StandWithUs noting a rise in reports of antisemitic indoctrination and requests for legal help from students facing antisemitic harassment and discrimination on campus, both in and out of the classroom. As always, StandWithUs’ letter makes clear that it is ready and available to work with administrators to build partnerships and collaboratively address these challenges.
There are five issues facing Jewish students that are addressed in the letter, along with guidelines to identify and address these problems. They are: (1) faculty and staff hindering students’ educational opportunities because of antisemitic and/or anti-Israel bias; (2) faculty exploiting the classroom to indoctrinate students with anti-Israel or antisemitic bias in violation of principles of academic freedom; (3) faculty using biased curricula and materials that are not relevant to a course’s subject matter in violation of academic freedom principles; (4) academic departments and student governments misusing official university social media accounts, listservs, and branding to promote antisemitism or anti-Israel bias; and (5) the duty of administrations to protect Jewish students’ rights from a pervasively hostile campus climate under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
StandWithUs’s letter provides remedies and offers to work collaboratively with administrations should incidents occur. In particular, StandWithUs suggests that administration be on the alert for student allegations of discriminatory practice and if such incidents occur, StandWithUs requests that administrations take swift remedial action to protect students’ academic rights, hold the offending party accountable, and ensure an educational environment free from antisemitic discrimination. StandWithUs also urges administrations to educate students about their right to protection from biased instruction and how to avail themselves of remedies should bias occur.
Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) is equally concerned about the five issues facing Jewish students that are addressed in the letter and supports the guidelines shared to identify and address these problems. StandWithUs thanks ACF for joining the national letter campaign and invites other concerned organizations to reach out and get involved with the campaign as well.
“University administrators must recognize that words and ideas can have terrible consequences. As a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I know firsthand the dangers that can arise when critical thought deteriorates, minority groups are marginalized, and bias and hate are normalized on campus. If university leaders are serious about using DEI and social justice efforts to foster an inclusive campus culture, there is an obligation to include antisemitism,” said Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs.
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism.
Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel.
Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs on 7 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.
For the last eleven years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).