April 16, 2024 | Policy Brief

Anti-Defamation League Report Card Grades 85 Universities’ Records on Antisemitism

April 16, 2024 | Policy Brief

Anti-Defamation League Report Card Grades 85 Universities’ Records on Antisemitism

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) unveiled its new Campus Antisemitism Report Card on April 11, assessing 85 U.S. colleges and universities according to 21 criteria. The Report Card serves as a valuable new resource in the fight against the rising hatred aimed at Jewish students on many American campuses, informing the decisions of parents and students and facilitating more effective oversight by policymakers seeking to hold delinquent universities accountable.

Based on criteria related to administrative policies and actions, antisemitic incidents, and Jewish life on campus, the ADL assigned letter grades to dozens of America’s top colleges and universities and those with the largest Jewish student communities. Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and 10 other schools received “F”s for their failure to protect Jewish students and address campus antisemitism. Twenty-four institutions received “D” grades, and only two schools, Brandeis University and Elon University, received an “A.”

A resource referred to as “first-of-its-kind” by USA Today, the ADL report features an FAQ section that details the report’s methodology and acknowledges some of its limitations. “Our analysis combines objective data with certain subjective impressions and analysis as well as our beliefs about how to weigh different factors,” write the report’s authors. “Reasonable people may disagree with these decisions.”

To be sure, some universities will not appreciate receiving poor grades. But that response can catalyze a healthy discussion that can lead to needed improvements.

The report’s release comes at a moment when many American colleges and universities have witnessed rising antisemitism in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terror attack and the ongoing war in Gaza. In one April 5 incident, police in riot gear arrested 20 anti-Israel student protesters at Pomona College.

“Jewish students deserve to feel safe and supported on campus. They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate,” the ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, commented, “But that hasn’t been the experience with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before October 7.” 

Since October 7, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has opened numerous antisemitism-related investigations of American colleges and universities for alleged violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has also initiated antisemitism investigations of several campuses.

As the Report Card’s introduction makes clear, the assessment seeks to be a resource for “students, parents, alumni, college faculty, guidance counselors, and admissions consultants.” Knowing the status of antisemitism on campuses can help these stakeholders make informed decisions on where prospective students should further their education.

The report card should also serve as a resource for policymakers, in particular as a tool to inform congressional oversight and legislation. Members and their staff can use the report to inform focused outreach directed at colleges and universities in their respective districts and states. The Department of Education could also use the report card to inform current and future investigations related to campus antisemitism.

The ADL deserves an “A” for its new report card. But it will be up to academic leaders and policymakers to address the situations responsible for the abysmal grades that so many universities have earned.

Antonette Bowman is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. For more analysis from Antonette, please subscribe HERE. Follow FDD on X @FDD. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.