Campus Reform | POLL: 50% of Jewish students feel they 'need to hide their identity' on campus

POLL: 50% of Jewish students feel they 'need to hide their identity' on campus

A new poll conducted by the Brandeis Center reveals that 65% of students in the leading Jewish fraternity and sorority have 'felt unsafe' on campus, while 50% of students surveyed have felt ​'the need to hide their identity.'

The president of Alpha Epsilon Phi told 'Campus Reform' that the data ' reeks of earlier dark periods in our religion’s history.'

Jewish college students are increasingly attempting to hide their identity.

A newly released poll conducted by the Brandeis Center and the Cohen Research Group reveals that 65% of students in the leading Jewish fraternity and sorority have "felt unsafe" on campus, while 50% of students surveyed have felt "the need to hide their identity."

The poll surveyed 1,027 students in the Jewish fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi, and the Jewish sorority, Alpha Epsilon Phi, in spring 2021. 

According to the poll, 50% of students surveyed claimed to have hidden their Jewish identity, and more than half of them avoid sharing personal opinions regarding Israel.

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The Brandeis Center also found that two-thirds of students "were familiar" with anti-Semitic incidents occurring on-campus or online within the last 120 days, with 10% being physical attacks.

Examples of verbal anti-Semitic instances experienced by students included "Israel treats Palestinians how the Nazis treated the Jews," "offensive jokes about Jews," "Jews have collective responsibility for Israel's actions," and more.

Brandeis Center's founder, Kenneth Marcus, who was former President Donald Trump’s appointed Assistant Secretary of Civil Rights at the United States Department of Education, told Campus Reform the amount of anti-Semitic incidents is only getting worse.

"What we found is not only that anti-Semitic incidents have been going way up, even now during the age of Joe Biden, but that they are having an impact on Jewish students that had never been recorded before," Marcus said. 

But the number of Jewish students who feel unsafe on campus also increases as their time at college progresses, the poll found.

For instance, 46% of freshman in Alpha Epsilon Pi expressed concerns they would be subjected to a "verbal attack," versus 57% of seniors. The number of Jewish students concerned about bias by a professor also increased in this group, as 22% of freshman expressed this concern, versus 38% of seniors.

Sharon Raphael, the national president Alpha Epsilon Phi, told Campus Reform that the climate for Jewish students on campus is "unacceptable."

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“The longer they are at college, the more they hide," Raphael said. "This is truly reprehensible and reeks of earlier dark periods in our religion’s history."

"I very much worry about the Jewish students who do not join AEPhi or AEPi or Hillel or Chabad and do not have that built-in support system," Raphael added.

Marcus also said that the number of anti-Semitic incidents should have been lower, given its timing before the Israel-Gaza conflict in May, higher education's increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion issues, and colleges shifting to virtual learning.