35+ Colleges and Universities Join Hillel’s Flagship Campus Climate Initiative to Combat Antisemitism on Campus



March 20, 2024

Administrators from 75 colleges and universities, including all 10 University of California schools, now participating in Hillel’s program to counter antisemitism

WASHINGTON As Jewish college students across the United States and Canada experience an unprecedented rise in antisemitism following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, more than 35 colleges and universities, including the entire University of California system, are joining Hillel International’s flagship Campus Climate Initiative (CCI) program this spring. Hillel’s CCI program is the nation’s leading training and engagement program for college and university administrators to address the alarming rise in antisemitism on campus. 

University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., announced on Wednesday that the Initiative is expanding to all UC schools, with four campuses already participating. 

“The University of California is committed to ensuring that our campus communities are safe, welcoming, and inclusive for all – including for our Jewish students, faculty, and staff. We are grateful for the support and guidance that Hillel International has provided on some of our campuses over the last several months, and we are pleased to expand this important partnership to all 10 UC campuses this year,” said President Drake. “The rise of antisemitism across the world is deeply alarming. With Hillel’s support, the University of California will continue to do its part to address this challenge.”

Notable colleges and universities, in addition to the 10 University of California schools, joining or expanding their participation in the CCI program this spring include The Ohio State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and five of the City University of New York (CUNY) schools. A full list of the 35-plus colleges and universities that are beginning or expanding their participation in the program this spring is below.

“We’re eager to expand our partnerships with colleges and universities to combat antisemitism on their campuses at this critical moment when students need it most,” said Mark Rotenberg, Hillel International’s vice president for University Initiatives and general counsel, who leads the CCI program. “Hillel’s work with students – and the feedback they have shared with us – makes clear that they want school administrators to be responsive to their need to be safe and fully included on campus. Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative gives college presidents and their senior staff the tools they need to recognize and call out antisemitism, harassment and marginalization in order to make their campuses safe for Jewish students and all students.”

Rotenberg holds extensive experience working with university administrations, serving for many years as the general counsel at the University of Minnesota and at Johns Hopkins University.  

With the addition of the largest group of participants to date, a total of more than 75 schools across the United States and Canada are now participating in the landmark Hillel program, which launched in 2020. The CCI program combines education about Jewish student identity and contemporary antisemitism with rigorous campus data collection and action planning to help university officials lead their campuses to become more genuinely inclusive of Jewish students’ needs. It is structured to align with universities’ longstanding commitments to creating welcoming campus environments for all students in order to ensure that Jewish students and their needs are integrated into any broader university efforts to combat bias and discrimination. 

Since October 7, Hillel International has tracked more than 1,100 incidents of antisemitism on college campuses – a nearly 10-fold increase compared to the same period last year. Additionally, a recent poll released by Hillel finds that 57% of Jewish students are not satisfied with the response of their campus administration to acts of violence and hate on campus, up from 50% in October. 

“With antisemitic incidents reaching record levels on campus, college and university presidents and other administrators need to know how to respond appropriately and effectively to ensure they’re creating a safer, more welcoming campus environment for their Jewish students,” said Adam Lehman, president and CEO of Hillel International. “We’re eager to start working with our next cohort of schools through CCI, which is an integral part of our efforts on campuses around the world to improve the campus climate for Jewish students.”

Participating schools include public and private colleges and universities of all sizes. All have expressed a commitment to working closely with Hillel International and their campus Hillels to improve the climate for Jewish students on their campus. After completing the year-long cohort experiences, schools remain in the program through continuous learning and Hillel-led in-person trainings and convenings

“At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we strongly believe that every student should feel a sense of belonging and dignity, and that no one should be judged or stereotyped based on their identity or beliefs,” said Jennifer Mnookin, chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to partner with Hillel International’s Campus Climate Initiative to continue to address antisemitism in all of its forms, to improve the experience of our Jewish Badgers and to strengthen our entire community.”

Institutions either beginning or continuing their inclusion in CCI this spring include:

More information about CCI and participating universities in the previous four cohorts can be found on the website.