Hillel Initiative Against Campus Antisemitism Adds 12 New Universities



September 16, 2022

Two women sit in armchairs in front of a TV screen

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jewish students are facing a steep rise in antisemitism on many of their college campuses. Hillel International, the largest and most inclusive Jewish student organization in the world, is substantially expanding its Campus Climate Initiative (CCI), a comprehensive program to foster a campus climate in which Jewish students feel comfortable expressing their identity free of antisemitism, harassment, or marginalization. CCI, now in its third year, today announced the addition of 12 new campuses, along with five campuses expanding their participation, achieving a new total of 40 campuses nationwide. The diverse institutions joining the latest cohort include both rural and urban communities, large research universities and liberal arts colleges, and Jewish communities large and small.

CCI’s program is intentionally integrated into the institution’s broader diversity, equity and inclusion commitments to foster a positive campus climate for all students. The program provides campuses the tools to assess their current campus climate, learn best practices and policies, and develop action plans to measurably improve.

Mark Rotenberg, Hillel’s Vice President for University Initiatives & Legal Affairs, who initiated and supervises CCI, observed: “I am so proud of the partnerships we have developed with dozens of colleges and universities who are deeply committed to improving the experiences of Jewish students as part of their DEI commitments for all students. The challenges of antisemitic hate, harassment and marginalization on campus require awareness and commitment to change by university leaders, and the CCI program’s dramatic growth from eight schools to 40 in two years shows that those leaders are out there.” 

In order to proactively counter antisemitism before an incident occurs, CCI works with university leaders to accurately understand the atmosphere on their campuses and take specific positive steps that enable Jewish students and all students to thrive. The 16-month cohort experience facilitates learning and sharing among hundreds of university administrators mutually committed to addressing campus antisemitism and creating relationships with their local Hillel campus professionals that improve coordination when antisemitic incidents do occur. Another notable feature of the cohort experience is the collaborative facilitation opportunities provided to CCI by the American Council on Education (ACE), the nation’s largest higher education organization, on their ACE Engage platform.  

Seven colleges from the City University of New York (CUNY) will be participating in the latest cohort of the Campus Climate Initiative. CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said, “CUNY has a rich and storied history of service to Jewish New Yorkers that is an important part of our tradition of openness to groups that have been excluded from higher education. We have remained vigilant and unequivocal in our intolerance of antisemitism yet we know more needs to be done across the world to end antisemitism in all forms. I’m proud of our growing partnership with Hillel International and grateful they selected so many of our campuses for their Campus Climate Initiative, which works to end antisemitism and build safe, learning environments where all students can thrive, regardless of race or religion.”

Those institutions either beginning or expanding their participation in CCI for the 2022-23 academic year include:

Universities in the previous two cohorts are listed here.