- 1,600 Harvard alumni have threatened to cut donations over the college’s handling of antisemitism.
- “We never thought we would have to argue for recognition of our own humanity,” they wrote.
- The Biden Administration told colleges this week that they must do more to stop antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Harvard University is facing backlash from alumni over its handling of antisemitism on campus, with more than 1,600 former students saying they will pause donations to the university unless it does more to address the issue, CNN reported.
An open letter to President Claudine Gay and Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana has continued to rack up signatures from members of the Harvard College Jewish Alumni Association (HCJAA) as they call on the university to protect students from antisemitic abuse.
The letter comes amid a wave of criticism directed at US colleges’ handling of antisemitism in the wake of Israel’s military action against Gaza following the Palestinian militant group Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attacks.
“We never thought that, at Harvard University, we would have to argue the point that terrorism against civilians demands immediate and unequivocal condemnation,” the HCJAA said. “We never thought we would have to argue for recognition of our own humanity.”
The group, which was formed after the Hamas attacks, condemned the university’s initial lack of response to the attacks, saying it “conveyed the implicit approval of a silent administration.”
Following a controversial letter signed by 30 student groups that claimed Israel was “entirely responsible” for the violence, Harvard President Claudine Gay announced the creation of an advisory group and reaffirmed Harvard’s “commitment to protecting all members of our community from harassment and marginalization.”
The HCJAA acknowledged Gay’s efforts but outlined several steps that it still wants to see Harvard take on the issue.
The group suggests staff and students undergo training on antisemitism and wants to see plans created “to ensure the protection of Jewish students on campus” and “to curb the dissemination of hate speech.”
It also suggested that the university adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of “antisemitism.”
“We want the University to adopt a definition of antisemitism that treats speech calling for the obliteration of the Jewish state as antisemitic and speech that treats all Jews as collectively guilty for any policy taken by the Jewish state as antisemitic,” Rebecca Claire Brooks, an organizer of the HCJAA told Fox News Digital.
This week, the Biden Administration told colleges that they risk losing federal funding if they don’t take steps to prevent antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Harvard University and the HCJAA did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment, which was made outside of normal working hours.