Overview of Campus Anti-Semitic Incidents
The ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents has
tracked anti-Semitic acts on college campuses since 1984. In this time,
reported incidents have increased from the 1984 low of 4 to a high of
143 in 1994. Such incidents include, for example, vandalism of Jewish
student offices and other property, personal harassment, anti-Semitic
speeches delivered on campus and Holocaust-denial ads printed in college
Following years of increases, 1995 provided a welcome
downturn in the number of such episodes; the 1995 total of 118 was a
decrease of 25 incidents from the 1994 high of 143-a 17 percent decrease
in campus incidents, down approximately to the level recorded in 1992.
It should be noted that many incidents are never reported.
Anti-Semitism on the college campus in some ways mirrors
the rest of society in terms of types of incidents and trends of increase
or decrease. Incidents of personal harassment, including threats and
assault, outnumber incidents of property destruction and vandalism on
campus, as they do in the country generally. Additionally, some incidents
in 1995 had the potential to become violent tragedies, such as one at
the University of Pennsylvania (see below).
Anti-Semitic speakers continue to be invited to address
campus audiences in disturbing numbers. Individuals such as the Nation
of Islam's Khalid Abdul Muhammad, CUNY Professor Dr. Leonard Jeffries,
Wellesley Professor Tony Martin and Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael)
regularly include anti-Semitic statements and historical distortions
in their campus speeches.
Paid advertisements denying the Holocaust were again
submitted to and printed by several college newspapers in 1995. Ads
were printed in student newspapers at SUNY-Binghamton (NY), Northeastern
University (MA), Oberlin College (OH), Radford University (VA), Sacred
Heart University (CT), and Wittenberg University (OH). Additionally,
the newspaper at Ithaca College (NY) ran the ad as an unpaid Op-Ed piece.
Holocaust-denial ads were rejected at Washburn University (KS), the
University of Massachusetts, North Essex Community College (MA), SUNY-Albany
(NY), SUNY-Stony Brook (NY), and Williams College (MA).
The following is a selection of serious recent campus
anti-Semitic incidents; for more detailed discussion of other anti-Semitic
incidents, see subsequent sections of this report.
On March 24, 1995, two Jewish students at the University
of Pennsylvania were walking in an area immediately off campus.
Derogatory anti-Jewish epithets were shouted at them by two other
students sitting on the porch of a private home. When the Jewish
students confronted them, one of the two went into the house and
returned brandishing a shotgun which he used to threaten the Jewish
students, who quickly fled the scene. Both of the perpetrators were
questioned by police and university officials, and several other
weapons were confiscated from their possession. One of the perpetrators
was "voluntarily separated" from the university, though
the victims ultimately declined to press charges through the criminal
In the spring of 1995, an article entitled "The
Paradox of European Jewry" was reprinted in a special edition
of Uhuru, the Black student journal of Kent State University
(OH). The article blamed Jews for the "decimation, defilement,
cultural colonization, enslavement and genocide of many of the world's
people up until today." This incident is particularly disturbing
because the funding for the special issue of Uhuru came from the
University Provost's office.
In October 1995, a column appeared in the Columbia
[University] Daily Spectator written by the president of
the Columbia Black Student Organization, who referred to Jews as
"devils," "tricksters," and "leeches sucking
the blood from the Black community." Jews, he wrote, "disguise
their evilness under the skirts and costumes of the rabbi,"
and hide the "blood of billions of Africans" under their
On February 24, 1995, at the University of California
at Berkeley, the Muslim Student Association sponsored a rally in
support of Hamas, the Middle East extremist group, soon after a
series of bus and sidewalk bombings in Israel. Students from several
northern California campuses carried a sign depicting an Israeli
flag with a swastika in the middle and symbolically volunteered
to serve as future suicide bombers. A Jewish observer was spit on
by one of the demonstrators.
On November 13, 1995, a Jewish student at Southern
Illinois University in Carbondale overheard a student make an anti-Semitic
comment. When he challenged the other student about the comment,
he was punched in the face.
Throughout 1995, a virulently anti-Semitic anonymous
tract entitled, "Anti-Semitism . . . Found" has been mailed
to professors at colleges around the country. Colleges receiving
the mailing include: Yale, Harvard, Duke, Dartmouth, Brown, Notre
Dame, Georgetown, Princeton, Washington University, the University
of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, and the University
of Massachusetts. This mailing has also been sent to government
and law enforcement officials around the country. The source of
the mailing has yet to be determined.
In April 1996, a female student active in Jewish
causes at the University of Miami was systematically harassed after
helping to plan a rally against a Nation of Islam speaker on campus.
In addition to finding a note attached to her car which said "Ready
to go boom?" she received several threatening phone calls and
was verbally harassed while walking home at night. On December 6,
a 15-foot menorah on campus was ripped from its moorings and pushed
into a lake.
On October 10, 1996, the Daily Illini, the
newspaper serving the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign,
published an Op-Ed essay attacking Israel after the opening of an
archeological tunnel in Jerusalem. In addition to references in
the essay equating Zionism with racism, the piece was accompanied
by a cartoon depicting a skeleton, with a blazing gun in one hand,
making a peace sign with the other, and clothed in a robe with a
Jewish Star on its chest. The cartoon and essay caused a widespread
reaction in terms of letters to the editor over the following weeks.
Source: Schooled in Hate: Anti-Semitism On Campus, ADL, 1997.
League (ADL). All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.