CUNY announces new initiative to fight antisemitism on campus

The initiative promises improved antisemitism awareness and training, as well as a system-wide web page for reporting campus incidents and $750,000 in new funding.

CUNY Graduate Center (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
CUNY Graduate Center
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The City University of New York unveiled a new initiative to combat antisemitism on campus, the university announced last week in a press release.

The initiative promises improved antisemitism awareness and training, as well as a system-wide web page for reporting campus incidents and $750,000 in new funding for events and programs that counter antisemitism and other forms of religious or ethnic bigotry.

“We have remained vigilant and unequivocal in our intolerance of antisemitism, yet we know more needs to be done globally and locally to combat antisemitism and bigotry in all forms,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

CUNY, America's largest urban public university with nearly 250,000 undergraduate students, has historically promoted ties with Jewish students, while Chancellor Rodríguez has made confronting antisemitism, and bigotry in all its forms, a priority during his tenure.

The new comprehensive changes were proposed and will be implemented in partnership with the non-profit organization Hillel International – the largest Jewish campus organization in the world. 

Hillel International introduces Adam Lehman as new CEO (credit: Courtesy)Hillel International introduces Adam Lehman as new CEO (credit: Courtesy)

Campus Climate Initiative

Hillel has implemented the changes in other campuses across the US as a part of their Campus Climate Initiative (CCI), which works with university administrators across the US to foster a safe environment and comfortable climate for Jewish students. 

Hillel’s CCI model has been successful because it offers an immersive, year-long cohort experience that facilitates learning and sharing among university administrators mutually committed to supporting Jewish students and addressing campus antisemitism.

“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,” said Mark Rotenberg, Hillel’s vice president for University Initiatives & Legal Affairs, who initiated and supervises CCI. “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.”

Now in its third year, the CCI has been implemented in 17 universities in the US, including Yale and Virginia Tech.

“I’m proud of our growing partnership with Hillel International and grateful that the organization selected our campuses for their Campus Climate Initiative, which works to end antisemitism and build safe learning environments in which all students can thrive, regardless of race or religion,” Chancellor Rodríguez declared.