Hillel launches initiative to assist college staff to combat campus anti-Semitism

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Hillel Foundation International Center in Washington, D.C. Credit: Flickr.

The Campus Climate Initiative will work with administrators to provide measurement tools, best practices, education and training designed to empower university leadership to understand ongoing threats.

Amid the rise in anti-Semitism on college campuses, Hillel International announced on Monday that it is launching a new initiative to ensure that university administrators and staff are trained to recognize and confront Jew-hatred.

The Campus Climate Initiative (CCI) will work with administrators to provide measurement tools, best practices, education and training designed to empower university leadership to understand the threats of anti-Semitism, take proactive steps to minimize them and directly address them when they occur.

The new initiative comes amid an alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents on college campuses. Hillel measured 178 anti-Semitic incidents this past academic year on the North American campuses it serves—an all-time high even with months of campuses being physically closed due to the coronavirus.

Online harassment of Jewish students and anti-Semitic vandalism has continued in recent months, even with campuses closed. This dangerous trend has been surging for several years.

Anti-Semitic hate crimes and bias incidents on college campuses more than tripled from 2012 through 2019, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Government data shows that religious-based hate crimes on college campuses roughly doubled between 2009 and 2017; a majority of these reported crimes targeted Jews.

“All Jewish college students have the right to study in a safe, welcoming environment free of harassment,” said Hillel International president and CEO Adam Lehman. “Hillel is uniquely positioned to partner with colleges and universities to develop tools to prevent anti-Semitism on campus and help empower university administrators to respond decisively and aggressively when issues of anti-Semitism unfortunately arise.”

In addition to working closely with a cohort of pilot-program campuses, the Campus Climate Initiative will use digital and online collaboration to extend those successes broadly across a much larger field of college leaders, helping them create and refine best-practice policies and procedures customized to their individual campus cultures and environments.

CCI will also showcase its expertise by bringing together university and Jewish community leaders for national conferences and forums focusing on these issues.

(JNS).

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