New York City joined a disturbing national trend in 2022: the rise of antisemitic crimes. According to the New York Police Department, antisemitic crimes across the five boroughs jumped by 125% since last year. These increases are leaving communities and New Yorkers rattled, including our own at the City University of New York (CUNY). With antisemitic attacks and speech on the rise around our country, our cities and our campuses, colleges and universities have a unique obligation to tackle the hate head-on.

CUNY has a rich and storied history of partnership with and service to Jewish New Yorkers, which once earned the City College of New York the moniker “The Jewish Harvard.” Today we have Jewish studies programs at City College, the Graduate Center, Hunter College and Queens College, to name a few, and a growing partnership with Hillel International. This year we look forward to working with Hillel’s Campus Climate Initiative, which works with over 40 colleges and universities to end antisemitism and build safe learning environments where all students can thrive — regardless of their race or religion. While we celebrate this, we also recognize that more needs to be done locally and globally to combat antisemitism and bigotry in all forms.

Last month, we launched a university-wide reporting portal that provides employees, students, visitors and the public with a uniform mechanism to report instances of hate speech, violence, discrimination and retaliation. This portal sends a direct notice of the report to both the president or dean and the chief diversity officer of the college or colleges mentioned in that report. This tool provides our university system with the opportunity to conduct detailed analysis to identify trends and patterns to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion programming. We want to know about all forms of hate, including antisemitism, happening at CUNY so we can best tackle this national problem on our campuses and in our system.

We know reporting isn’t enough and we have taken steps to help prevent hate and increase tolerance and understanding. CUNY this year dedicated $750,000 in new funds to be distributed among all CUNY campuses for programs, training and events that work to address antisemitism and other forms of bias. These funds will sponsor guest speakers’ series and table talks and expand our training of campus administrators and student leaders to help them understand and respond to the various forms of bias. This investment – along with additional city council funding for existing programs on campuses to address hate that I lobbied for since I became chancellor – will help create a safer, more inclusive campus climate building upon existing programs and activities.

Read the full article about hate and bias on college campuses by Felix Matos Rodriguez at eJewish Philanthropy.