Holding Antisemites Accountable.

Close this search box.

Elite Vermont University Under Scrutiny for Failing To Protect Jewish Students

Middlebury College faces allegations of fostering a hostile environment for Jewish students, as instances of antisemitism rise on campuses nationwide. Students seek safer havens, prompting institutions to take action and create inclusive environments.

In the wake of escalating tensions and a notable rise in antisemitism on college campuses, a formal complaint has been lodged against Middlebury College for its alleged failure to adequately address and mitigate instances of discrimination against Jewish students. This accusation not only shines a spotlight on Middlebury but also underscores a troubling trend that is becoming increasingly prevalent across the United States. As instances of hate speech and discrimination grow more common, Jewish students find themselves at a crossroads, forced to weigh the importance of their safety and freedom of expression against their educational aspirations.

At the core of the complaint is the charge that Middlebury College has violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by fostering a hostile climate for Jewish students on campus. Reports suggest that administrative actions have not only stifled Jewish students’ freedom of expression but have also demonstrated a marked differential treatment when compared to Muslim student groups. This disparity extends to the college’s response—or lack thereof—to calls for the genocide of Israeli Jews and overt support for Hamas, further exacerbating the climate of fear among Jewish students who worry about retaliation should they speak out against these incidents of antisemitism.

This situation at Middlebury College is not an isolated incident but rather a reflection of a broader issue affecting college campuses nationwide. Following recent events, including attacks by Hamas, there has been a noticeable uptick in antisemitic incidents, prompting some students to seek safer havens. Notably, the state of Florida has emerged as a destination for students fleeing religious persecution, thanks in part to an emergency order issued by Governor Ron DeSantis. This order encourages transfer students who have experienced religious discrimination or harassment, offering them waivers for application fees and in-state tuition rates. While the directive aims to support Jewish students, it extends its protection to all students facing religious persecution, highlighting the need for a comprehensive approach to combatting discrimination on campus.

Amidst this unsettling landscape, the voices of students like Ethan Smith, a high school senior from New Jersey, resonate loudly. Ethan withdrew his application to the University of Pennsylvania, citing concerns over antisemitism as his primary reason—a decision reflecting a growing trend among teens actively involved in BBYO. A recent survey revealed that 64% of BBYO participants consider campus antisemitism a significant factor in their college decision-making process. Similarly, Bianca De Almeida from Miami chose not to apply to certain colleges due to her concerns about antisemitism. These stories underscore a broader reckoning by American Jews regarding their inclusion in various institutions in the aftermath of the conflict between Israel and Hamas in October 2021.

The allegations against Middlebury College and the broader context of increasing antisemitism on college campuses present a complex challenge. They highlight the need for institutions to not only acknowledge the presence of discrimination and harassment but also to take decisive actions to create a safe and inclusive environment for all students. The steps taken by Florida in response to this issue point towards a potential pathway for other states and educational institutions to follow, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures and comprehensive DEIJ strategies in addressing and curbing antisemitism on college campuses. As this situation continues to unfold, it serves as a critical reminder of the ongoing struggle against hate and discrimination, and the collective effort required to ensure that educational environments remain places of learning, growth, and safety for everyone.