Torres urges New York colleges to curb antisemitism following ADL’s report

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) called on New York colleges to curb antisemitism following the recent assessment from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that found none of the state’s 14 schools included in the report received an “A” grade.

The ADL published its “Campus Antisemitic Report Card” on Thursday, in which it examined 85 top liberals arts colleges and schools with a high population of Jewish students. The report assigned grades to schools — public and private — based on the “Jewish life on campus,” antisemitic incidents and actions taken by the administration to protect Jewish students and fight antisemitism.

Only two schools, Brandeis University in Massachusetts and Elon University in North Carolina, received “A” grades. The 14 schools based in New York, on average, got subpar grades.

Four each received B’s and D’s. Five schools got C’s. SUNY Rockland Community College and SUNY Purchase got an F.

Torres called on those institutions’ presidents to “detail concrete” actions on how they will get their institutions to the highest grades and called some schools’ evaluations “alarming.”

“Despite boasting the largest Jewish population outside the State of Israel, NYS did not have a single school that earned an A,” Torres said in a letter first shared with The Hill. “Even more alarming, most schools received either a C, D, or F. Instead of leading in the fight against antisemitism, New York is lagging. The grades speak for themselves.”

The grades were as follows:

  • Barnard College: D

  • CUNY Brooklyn: B

  • Columbia University: D

  • Cornell University: D

  • Hofstra University: B

  • Ithaca College: B

  • New York University: C

  • SUNY Albany: C

  • SUNY Binghamton: B

  • SUNY New Paltz: D

  • SUNY Purchase: F

  • SUNY Rockland Community College: F

  • Syracuse University: C

  • Queens College: C

The New York Democrat sent the letter Friday morning.

Schools have come under scrutiny in recent months for their handling of antisemitism following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel. While Torres said he supports free expression, he noted that some demonstrations “have gone too far.”

“Although all Americans should enjoy the right to express their views freely, even if those views are disagreeable, we have seen demonstrations and disruptions that have gone too far, rising to the level of harassment and intimidation and creating a hostile environment for Jewish students,” he wrote in the letter.

The ADL has warned about the rise of antisemitism since the Oct. 7 attack, with more than 2,000 incidents occurring between then and Dec. 7, according to the organization’s 2023 report.

“I am calling upon each college and university in New York to detail the concrete actions that it will take to earn an A on the ADL’s Campus Antisemitism Report Card,” Torres said. “The post-October 7th status quo of higher education is fundamentally failing to protect Jewish students from a climate of campus antisemitism. Change is needed now more than ever. The longer we wait, the longer we fail.”

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