DEI frameworks have ‘largely failed’ Jewish students by ignoring antisemitism: Adam Lehman
Hillel International President and CEO Lehman joins ‘Fox News Live’ to discuss instances of antisemitism that have disturbed college campuses across the U.S. and the importance of change in leadership and policy at institutions of higher education.
EXCLUSIVE — Advocacy group Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) has called on Northwestern University to review several antisemitic incidents involving student groups in the weeks following the Hamas attack Oct. 7.
“We hope this will be a dialogue and way for us to start a conversation to create sustained change on campus,” Avi Gordon, executive director of ACF, told Fox News Digital.
“We hope that they’re actively investigating and that they treat these incidents seriously, and the students who are committing these acts are treated appropriately.”
A letter from the group sent Monday combines the efforts ACF with the legal arm of the nonprofit StandWithUs, which supports Israel and fights antisemitism. The two groups just last week sent a similar letter to Lehigh University to address the “increasingly hostile climate for Jewish and Israeli students on campus.”
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Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Ill. (Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
In the letter to Northwestern, ACF highlighted five specific incidents involving the Northwestern Middle Eastern and North Africa Student Association, the Northwestern Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Northwestern’s Asian American Studies Program faculty.
The letter also highlights a group of students and/or faculty that reportedly distributed fake copies of the student newspaper “filled with antisemitic commentary” and an SJP-organized walkout and demonstration during which the students held signs declaring “Solidarity in Liberation,” which ACF argued alludes to the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.
ACF has asked Northwestern for transparency in any investigation into these and other incidents and any disciplinary action taken or initiated against any students or faculty involved.
The group also criticized the newly-created President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate, which the university promised would focus “not just on stemming the growth of antisemitism but also hate directed to other groups such as our students of Palestinian descent.”
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Members of the Israeli Defense Forces work to clear houses and organize the bodies of civilians killed in an attack by Hamas terrorists in Kfar Aza, Israel. (Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
“We are not aware of university student or faculty groups, however, issuing statements or organizing rallies endorsing genocide of Palestinians,” ACF wrote in its letter.
“This announcement and committee serve therefore to water down efforts to combat antisemitism by falsely implying that equivalent behavior had been perpetrated against Palestinian students or to suggest that antisemitism is only deplorable and worthy of condemnation and university resources in relation to this other form of hatred,” the group argued.
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The letter also highlighted the appointment of Dean Bryan Brayboy to lead the President’s Advisory Committee and inviting a speaker who the groups described as biased against Israel.
The letter says Brayboy “appears to have no expertise in these issues. His biography claims his ‘most influential scholarship is Tribal Critical Race Theory or TribalCrit, a groundbreaking framework he developed in 2005 to help explain Indigenous peoples’ complex experiences with education, colonization, and racism.’ Dean Brayboy should not be leading this committee. His appointment suggests that this initiative is aimed at blocking or delaying true reforms that would actually counter antisemitism.
Northwestern University President Michael H. Schill, seen here when he was president at the University of Oregon Jan. 1, 2020, in Pasadena, Calif. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
“We call upon you to protect your Jewish and Israeli students from the pervasively hostile climate that prevails at Northwestern by enforcing your own rules and principles against discrimination, and by exercising your own right to free speech to condemn unequivocally those who sully Northwestern’s reputation with antisemitic bigotry,” the group urged.
ACF has previously clashed with Northwestern over alleged antisemitism, including in December 2023, when the group pledged a six-figure advertising campaign criticizing university President Michael Schill’s response to incidents on campus.
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The university denounced the ads and the accusations posted by them against Schill, and school officials issued a statement that called the accusations “outlandish” and “not based on facts.”
“Moreover, President Schill has been outspoken in condemning antisemitism and the terrorist attack on Israel and has taken several proactive steps to address antisemitism on campus, including the establishment of the President’s Advisory Committee on Preventing Antisemitism and Hate,” the statement stressed.
Demonstrators rally to show support for the Palestinians in Chicago. (Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images)
Gordon told Fox News Digital he welcomed Schill’s condemnation of Hamas and its attack but found it “too little, too late.”
“Initially, there was nothing and kind of back and forth, but I think those are definitely important steps,” Gordon said regarding Schill’s statements against Hamas. But Gordon stressed that “there’s more work to be done there.”
Northwestern University did not respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment by time of publication.
Peter Aitken is a Fox News Digital reporter with a focus on national and global news.