More than 1,600 Princeton University alumni, students and faculty are urging school leaders to take steps to ensure the university doesn’t become a “hotbed of antisemitism” following protests on campus that some students said implied violence toward Jews.
The letter, sent Monday to Princeton administrators and signed by alumni, including Mitchell Julis, co-chairman of Canyon Partners, and Leon Kalvaria, chairman of Citigroup’s institutional clients group, was prompted by two rallies and “the on-campus environment.”
Protesters called for an “intifada from Princeton to Gaza” and Jewish students said they were told by protesters “you are committing genocide,” according to the letter.
College campuses have been roiled by protests and tensions since Hamas, which the U.S. and European Union designate a terrorist group, attacked Israel on Oct. 7. Alumni and students have criticized leadership at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia over incidents of antisemitism. Each of the schools has created antisemitism task forces, which the alumni group at Princeton is also seeking.
A spokesperson for the New Jersey-based school didn’t provide comment, but Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber addressed the Hamas attack last month, calling it “among the most atrocious of terrorist acts.”
Last week, the Education Department opened complaints for possible discrimination based on shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics at Columbia, Cornell, the University of Pennsylvania, Wellesley College, Cooper Union and Lafayette College. Five of them allege antisemitic harassment and two allege anti-Muslim harassment, according to the Education Department.
More than half of Jewish U.S. college students say they feel unsafe on their campus since the Hamas attack, according to a poll released Monday by Hillel International.
The Princeton alumni were contacted by students who felt physically unsafe and that the response wasn’t consistent with how other groups are treated and supported by the university, said Jacob Katz, a 2023 graduate and a co-author of the letter, who served in the Israel Defense Forces before enrolling at Princeton.
Princeton’s Hillel Rabbi, Gil Steinlauf, wrote in a letter Friday that his meetings with students suggest most students are demonstrating resilience.
“I often hear them tell me that it isn’t easy hearing their peers shout ‘From the River to the Sea’ or calls for an Intifada,” wrote Steinlauf. “But across the board, the majority of the students we engage are demonstrating resilience and resolve to pursue respectful, productive dialogue with others in the Jewish and broader campus community who may have different points of view from their own. ‘’
©2023 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.