Majority Of Students At Top-Ranking Universities Say Anti-Semitism A Problem On Campus
Pro-Palestinian protesters walk from Columbia University down to Hunter College as protests at area universities and colleges continue on May 06, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

About two-thirds of students attending top-ranked universities say that anti-Semitism is a problem on campus, according to a new poll.

The data comes after pro-Palestinian and pro-Hamas protests have roiled university campuses in recent weeks. Administrators have shut down campuses and canceled events over the demonstrations, some of which have taken over campus buildings and resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Amid the chaos, 67% of students at the top 25 universities ranked by U.S. News & World Report said anti-Semitism is a problem on campus. Fourteen percent of students identified anti-Semitism as a “huge problem,” and 53% called it a “small problem,” according to a U.S. News & World Report survey.

When asked if students feel more or less safe because of the campus demonstrations, more than a third of students, 38%, reported feeling less safe. Twenty-eight percent said they felt “a little less safe,” and 10% reported feeling “much less safe.”

“The campus has never been immune from anti-Semitism,” Pamela Nadell, director of Jewish studies at American University, told U.S. News & World Report. “The outbursts that we’ve had since Oct. 7 have a long, long history.”

“Every time events erupt in Israel, they trickle out into the U.S.,” Nadell continued. “We’ll see a slow build and then have an explosion. The difference in this moment is the breadth of the explosion.”

“In this case, the explosion is ostensibly against the war, but it so often morphs into tropes that are deeply anti-Semitic. And I think what is not surprising but what is so deeply disturbing is that opposition to the war has morphed into repetition of classic anti-Semitic tropes, and it targets not Israel and not Israeli policies, but it targets Jewish students,” she said.


Polls suggest that the campus demonstrators’ antics and behavior are sparking a backlash and hurting support for their cause.

Results of a Generation Lab survey released earlier this month found that roughly two-thirds of students believed demonstrators should not occupy campus buildings to protest. Nine out of ten students surveyed said that protesters should not block pro-Israel students from parts of campus. Eighty-one percent of students said that protesters should be held accountable for destroying, vandalizing, or illegally occupying buildings.

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