Skip to Content

### Failing Grades for Harvard, Stanford, and MIT in ADL Antisemitism Report

Harvard, Stanford, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) were among the top universities to receive an “F” on a report issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on Thursday.

In a groundbreaking report, the ADL evaluated 85 colleges nationwide based on their measures to safeguard Jewish students and counter antisemitism. Out of these institutions, two achieved an “A,” 17 attained a “B,” 29 secured a “C,” 24 obtained a “D,” and 13 were assigned an “F.”

This assessment comes at a critical juncture when the distinction between free speech and hate speech is under intense scrutiny nationwide, especially following a series of controversies on college campuses in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The conflict, which commenced on Oct. 7 last year, resulted in 1,200 casualties, prompting Israel’s military retaliation.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt emphasized the imperative for every campus to strive for an “A” grade, underscoring the fundamental expectation of safety and support for all student groups, including Jewish students.

More Insights:

Harvard’s Response to the ADL Evaluation

Harvard gained national attention for its handling of the events following the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. In the wake of the conflict, a coalition of student organizations jointly criticized Israel’s role in the attack.

Subsequently, reports of antisemitic incidents surged, compelling Harvard President Claudine Gay to address student safety concerns. However, her remarks on antisemitism alongside University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill triggered significant backlash and scrutiny.

President Gay acknowledged that advocating for the genocide of Jews constitutes antisemitism but suggested that its ethical implications at Harvard hinge on contextual factors. Following these developments, key university officials resigned from their positions.

In response to allegations of fostering antisemitism, Harvard’s interim president, Alan M. Garber, established two task forces in February: the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Antisemitism and the Presidential Task Force on Combatting Anti-Muslim and Anti-Arab Bias. Garber emphasized the pivotal role of these task forces in strengthening the university community.

Further Developments:

Challenges at Other Universities

MIT and Stanford, both recipients of failing grades, encountered similar challenges related to rising antisemitism on their campuses post-Oct. 7.

At MIT, two students filed a lawsuit against the university, alleging instances of antisemitism leading to intimidation, harassment, and assault. Stanford faced backlash after suspending a former lecturer accused of derogatory remarks towards Jewish students.

The ADL’s report card serves as a tool for evaluating how effectively university administrators address antisemitism on campus, aiming to assist prospective students and families in making informed decisions.

Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, were the only institutions to receive an “A” grade. Brandeis University, with a significant Jewish student population, notably revoked recognition of its Students for Justice in Palestine chapter post-Oct. 7.

Elon University was commended for its transparent approach to reporting antisemitic incidents, establishment of an advisory council on antisemitism, and active Jewish student organizations.

Rachel Barber, a 2024 election fellow at USA TODAY, specializes in politics and education. For more updates, follow her on X (@rachelbarber), formerly known as Twitter.