Donors, Faculty Outraged and Afraid Over Tepid Response to Antisemitism at Rutgers University

By Matis Glenn

Donors and faculty members of Rutgers University are expressing outrage and fear over what they say is the school’s slow response to rising antisemitism on campus in the wake of the October 7 massacre and resultant war against the Hamas terror group, according to the business media outlet ROI New Jersey.

Protests erupted across college campuses after October 7, which routinely include inciteful quotes calling for genocide against Jews, including “globalize the intifada,” and “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Esther Reed, who works at the Rutgers’ Hillel chapter, related incidents of antisemitism on campus to ROI NJ, including an attack on members of a popular Jewish fraternity who were hit by eggs while having slurs hurled at them, Jewish students being yelled at, and pictures of Hamas’ hostages being ripped down. To add insult to injury, Reed says that students who report these incidents have been accused by the administration of lying.

She says that the university administration is “waiting for someone to get hurt” before it takes serious action.

The rise of antisemitism on college campuses led to a congressional hearing last week, in which the presidents of Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, and MIT were questioned about how they are protecting Jewish students. At the hearing, all three presidents responded similarly, citing what they claim to be school policies that are modeled after the legal parameters of the First Amendment, and that even calls for genocide against Jews would not necessarily violate school rules if they weren’t followed by direct threats or harassment towards individual students. Following massive backlash from donors, alumni and lawmakers over the responses, which critics say represent a dramatic double standard with regards to antisemitism and other forms of discrimination, calls for the resignation of the presidents grew, leading to UPenn President Lizz Magill announcing on Saturday that she would leave her post.

Around seven faculty members and persons associated with the university spoke with ROI NJ on condition of anonymity, afraid of retaliations or being fired.

“There are many Business School faculty and staff who are scared,” a faculty member said.

Regarding an incident in which pro-Palestinian students stormed the building at Rutgers Business School in Piscataway on November 29, disrupting school activities, one faculty member said: “The ones who were there are in shock. They’re beside themselves. There was a sense that this was a real assault that could have turned violent very easily.”

“The line between protests and violence is razor-thin,” another faculty member said. “So, there’s a lot of fear and a lot of tension on campus — and dismay that the university has yet to enumerate the practical steps that it will take to protect people.”

One professor says that seminars and speeches given at the university are biased against Israel.

“What is scary about these seminars and speeches on Gaza is that it’s a one-sided narrative about race,” a professor said. “They are factually inaccurate. They are misappropriating words, like colonization and genocide and apartheid. Students are listening to it, and they’re believing it. And there’s no counter-dialogue at all right now because people are scared.”

Faculty members believe that the university’s Business School is a prime target, due to the stereotypical association people make between Jews and business.

Ralph Zucker, founder of Inspired by Somerset Development, told ROI NJ that he has suspended his longstanding relationship with the Rutgers Center for Real Estate.

One donor, real estate developer Carl Goldberg, who served as a founding chair of the Center for Real Estate, voiced his concerns.

“If (Rutgers) does not respond effectively, I will likely pull back from the program,” he told ROI NJ. “I certainly will discontinue my contributions to the Rutgers Foundation.

“It’s unacceptable to me as both a Jewish person and a businessperson to support a university where that kind of hate speech activity is tolerated on the grounds of the university campus. President Holloway has an obligation to ensure that those kinds of incidents and that kind of hate speech cannot and will not take place on the grounds of our state university.”

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