WU deemed “Better than Most” colleges in antisemitism Report Card

| News Editor

Washington University received a “B” grade, or “Better than Most” colleges in the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) first-ever Campus Antisemitism Report Card, released on April 10. 

The Report Card evaluated 85 universities nationwide for the prevalence of antisemitism and their efforts to combat it. WashU was one of 17 schools to receive the “B” grade. Only two universities, Brandeis and Elon, earned the highest “A” grade. 

The ADL said that they graded schools based on their administrative actions in addressing antisemitism, quality of Jewish student life on campus, and the potential occurrence of antisemitic incidents.

Chancellor Andrew Martin said he is pleased with WashU’s positive evaluation on the Report Card. 

“While I’m proud of the work we’ve done institutionally to create a supportive and respectful environment, this recognition is a testament to our community members who continue to conduct themselves with integrity and grace during challenging times,” Martin said.

The Report Card assessed specific areas relating to the University’s inclusiveness of Jewish students, in addition to assigning it an overall grade.  

WashU received high marks for the quality of its Jewish student life on campus. The ADL cited the school’s large Jewish student population and active Hillel, Chabad, and Jewish Greek Life organizations.

Jordan Gerson, WashU Hillel’s Campus Rabbi, said he is glad the Report Card acknowledged Jewish organizations on campus. 

“All of the campus organizations and partners that work together to provide Jewish students with a positive, holistic experience have yielded a great situation here on WashU’s campus for students,” Gerson said. “I think we’re seeing that with the growing Jewish population. We’re seeing the fruits of those efforts pay off.” 

The ADL also said that WashU has had many instances of “hostile anti-Zionist student groups [and] student government activity.” 

“A resolution put forward to the Student Union Senate [called] on WashU to divest from and cut professional ties with Boeing,” the ADL wrote. “The resolution passed in the Senate, 15 to 5.” 

Despite this, the ADL commended WashU for its administrative actions and policies relating to antisemitism. 

The group noted that the school has publicly condemned antisemitic incidents and the phrase ‘from the river to the sea.’

“[The high marks] are a positive testament to the dedication of our student leaders and to the University administration,” Hershey Novack, co-director of WashU Chabad, said. 

Though Novack expressed some contentment with the ADL’s Report Card, he cautioned against any attempts to oversimplify the Jewish student experience. 

“It’s excellent that our community has been recognized by the ADL,” Novack said. “It is probably true that our college campus is better than most [colleges] and worse than a few. But it is reductive to believe that a rich tapestry of experiences can be simply measured in five grade-letter buckets.” 

Novack said that high school students exploring college options should speak with WashU’s Jewish students to gain a better understanding of Jewish student life on campus. 

“They have a wealth of experience to share with prospective students that transcends a five-tier scoring system,” he said.  

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