Facing a federal complaint, the University of Illinois pledges to protect Jewish and pro-Israel students

(JTA) — Weeks after a federal complaint alleged an anti-Semitic climate at the University of Illinois, the university announced it would work with Jewish groups to improve conditions for Jews and pro-Israel students on campus.

The campus in Champaign-Urbana, home to 34,000 undergraduates and some 3,000 Jewish undergraduate students, was recently the subject of a legal complaint asking the U.S. Education Department to investigate a “hostile environment of anti-Semitism.” The complaint cited multiple instances of swastika graffiti, vandalism at Jewish centers and harassment of Jewish and pro-Israel students. The Trump administration has directed the Education Department to include Jewish students in its anti-discrimination protections, facilitating such complaints. 

In September, the school’s student government passed a resolution supporting the Black Lives Matter movement that also included a call to divest from companies that do business with Israel. Jewish organizations in Illinois, including the Chicago Jewish federation, which controls the

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Jewish students file federal complaint against University of Illinois over ‘anti-Semitic harassment’

Jewish students and their supporters announced Friday the filing of a federal complaint alleging an “unrelenting campaign of anti-Semitic harassment” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The complaint submitted in March with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights accused the university of allowing a “hostile environment to proliferate on campus,” citing an increase in swastikas, vandalism of menorahs and mezuzahs, and window-smashing at the Jewish fraternity house.

The document, which urged OCR to open an investigation, also said Students for Justice in Palestine’s members and supporters have harassed Jewish and pro-Israel students by calling them ‘Nazi’ and ‘White supremacist,’ and “converted mandatory UIUC diversity training into anti-Israel indoctrination.”

“Being a Jew at UIUC comes with immense hate and hostility” said UIUC student Ian Katsnelson in a statement. “First, as a senator on student government I’ve experienced shocking examples of anti-Semitism firsthand. I’ve been called a genocide supporter,

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JTS Undergraduate Program in Jewish Studies

Students at List College pursue a rigorous, synergistic, and rewarding curriculum in Jewish studies at JTS, and in the liberal arts and sciences at either Columbia University or Barnard College.   

Each List College student pursues a comprehensive core curriculum in Jewish Studies, and chooses a major field in which to specialize. Majors can range from Bible to Modern Jewish Studies, and from Jewish Ethics to Midrash. 

Majors  First-Year Schedule

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