College life in America

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The Jewish Voices on Campus

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College Crossroads

24 April 2015
Dear Rabbi Brody,

I am a 20-year-old college sophomore in the US, and lately I have been worrying about whether or not I am on the right path in life. I know I’m still young, but I feel I am ready to be married and start a family, and I live somewhere with very few Jewish males, none of whom are particularly religious. While I’ve always pictured myself as finishing college, lately I am not sure if this is the right thing to do. I was always an excellent student but lately I have been having a very difficult time finishing assignments because my mind is elsewhere, and even so, the liberal arts program I’m in is not likely to lead to many career opportunities. Also, so unbelievably many random things keep going wrong, making it more difficult to continue in school, and I don’t know whether to take this as a sign from Hashem that maybe I should head in a different direction, or just as another challenge in life to overcome. I don’t want to waste any more time if this is not what I should be doing with my life, and end up unmarried, having wasted what should be an exciting time in life on unfruitful studes. Should I spend at least the next two-plus years finishing my BA degree, or is it time to change directions? I would greatly appreciate any advice you might offer. Thank you so much for your time.

Wishing you happiness always like you make others happy,
Alicia in the western USA

Dear Alicia,

Good girl – you’ve done a good job of understanding the messages that Hashem has sent you. It’s definitely time for you to seriously search for the right person and to raise a family.

The restlessness in your soul is straight from Hashem. A liberal arts program in a university is a waste of your valuable time and money. As far as a livelihood goes, you can take one of many inexpensive aptitude tests available on the web, determine a skill you like, and then pursue a six-month occupational course, such as computers, graphic design, dental tech, or whatever. So, I recommend that you check out of university, move to an area where there are Jewish studies for women your age, and then simultaneously strengthen your Judaism and acquire an occupational skill.

On the other hand, my blue-chip advice for you would be to come to Israel, enroll in a women’s seminar for Jewish Studies such as Midreshet Beerot Bat Ayin which I’m sure you’ll love, or EYHAT (Aish Hatora women’s seminary) or Neve Yerushalayim as possible alternatives. That way you’ll be able to strengthen your Judaism and find the exact guy you want. You’ll be a smashing success, G-d willing. May Hashem bless you and lead you in the right path. Feel free to write. With blessings, LB


College Student Earns 4.0 GPA, Then Drops Out: “You Are Being Scammed!”

by Tyler Durden 22December2016

Submitted by Lance Schuttler via,

Billy Williams just finished his first college semester and did so with the all-impressive 4.0 GPA. Instead of celebrating his accomplishments with friends and family, he decided to drop out of college entirely.


Billy made a facebook post that is now going viral in which he explains his reasoning for dropping out:

“Now that I’ve finished my first semester I think it’s safe to say… FUCK COLLEGE. Now before all you of you go batshit crazy… I have a few points to make.


1. Yes I have dropped out after finishing my first semester (with a 4.0 GPA). And it’s one of the best choices I’ve ever made. Not because I am averse to learning, but actually the exact opposite.


2. YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED. You may not see it today or tomorrow, but you will see it some day. Heck you may have already seen it if you’ve been through college. You are being put thousands into debt to learn things you will never even use. Wasting 4 years of your life to be stuck at a paycheck that grows slower than the rate of inflation. Paying $200 for a $6 textbook. Being taught by teacher’s who have never done what they’re teaching. Average income has increased 5x over the last 40 years while cost of college has increased 18x. You’re spending thousands of dollars to learn information you won’t ever even use just to get a piece of paper. I once even had an engineer tell me “I learned more in my first 30 days working than in my 5 years of college.” What does that tell you about this system? There are about a million more ways you’re being scammed into this.. just watch the video i’m gonna comment if you want to see more.


3. Colleges are REQUIRING people to spend money taking gen. ed. courses to learn about the quadratic formula (and other shit they will never use) when they could be giving classes on MARRIAGE and HOW TO DO YOUR TAXES.


4. Gosh there are so many more reasons I could add, but just comment if you disagree or have reasons to add. I’d love to add to the discussion. TAG a friend in college, Tag your parents, share this if you agree, disagree. Let’s just talk about it. Heck post a picture of yourself flipping off something you think is unjust in our society.”

Billy is right too that the price of college continues to soar.

Ray Franke, a professor of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Boston said:

If you look at the long-term trend of college tuition, it has been rising almost six percent above the rate of inflation. That’s brought immense pressure from the media and general public, asking whether college is still worth it.

In 2015, Harvard’s annual tuition and fees (not including room and board) would cost a person $45,278, which is more than 17 times the 1971-72 cost. If annual increases of tuition had simply tracked the inflation rate since 1971, 2016’s tuition would be just $15,189.

According to CNBC, college enrollment peaked in 2011, and has been decreasing ever since. This is no doubt in part to a family’s ability to pay the tuition, room and board and other related expenses. For example, in order to pay for a year of college at Harvard today would take the median household income nearly one year of paychecks. Back in 1971, it would have taken about 13 weeks of paychecks per the household median income.

Today the student debt is over $1.26 trillion dollars with over 44 million Americans in debt from student loans. 2016’s graduates on average are over $36,000 dollars in debt, which is up 6% from just one year ago.

What can be done to alleviate this situation? Why do banks get bailed out (2008 Lehman crisis) for cheating the world, while students must continue to pay a debt? Why is a private institution (The Federal Reserve) in charge of this nation’s money and finances? How will students continue to be able to go to college when the price continues to skyrocket as the federal minimum wage stays stuck at $7.25 an hour? At some point soon, the masses won’t take it anymore from the banking cartel. The education system is in for some major changes very soon.



“The Hit Is Huge”: Colleges Brace For ‘Fatal’ Blow Of Next Fall As Face-To-Face Instruction Uncertain

by Tyler Durden 20April2020

A viral post written by a veteran professor on Medium recently grabbed prospective students’ attention in saying provocatively: “This is a message to all high school seniors (and their parents). If you were planning to enroll in college next fall — don’t.”

“No one knows whether colleges and universities will offer face-to-face instruction in the fall, or whether they will stay open if they do,” University of La Verne law professor Diane Klein wrote. “No one knows whether dorms and cafeterias will reopen, or whether team sports will practice and play.”

It’s that simple. No one knows. Schools that decide to reopen may not be able to stay that way. A few may decide, soon, not even to try. Others may put off the decision for as long as possible — but you can make your decision now,” the veteran teacher said, making the case that it’s the worst time ever for families to make the massive financial commitment. After all, who wants to drop an initial $50K or more to potentially sit at home for Fall 2020 and take online classes?

Student sits with her belongings before returning home to Florida from Massachusetts for the rest of the semester, Getty Images.

Student sits with her belongings before returning home to Florida from Massachusetts for the rest of the semester, Getty Images.

And it’s 100% accurate that colleges and universities are flying through the coronavirus economic ‘pause’ blindly, now slashing budgets for next year and in many instances notifying employees that drastic cuts are coming, including regarding salaries and staffing positions — possibly even reaching into faculty ranks.

Colleges and universities across the nation are stuck in financial limbo at a moment that key staffing, faculty contracts, student recruiting, tuition and donor revenue-related decisions are typically made for next year, also as controversy erupts over refusal to refund student housing and campus activity fees. Crucially, endowment values have plunged along with markets.

The $600 billion-plus higher education industry is expected to suffer effects of this Spring’s campus shutdowns at least through next Fall, given everything down to campus tours for potential recruits have been canceled, leaving open the crucial question of incoming levels of freshmen and vital tuition revenue for next year. And now it’s not a question of profitability, academic reputation or long-term growth, but of mere survival.

In a new report Bloomberg warns this week“Administrators across the nation increasingly fear their schools may not reopen for the fall semester.” This amid mass cancellations of everything from sports to summer programs and classes, to shuttering of on-campus facilities and student activities. It further details panicked institutions which were already struggling, now fearing amid coronavirus closures and ‘online only’ format, bracing for the “fatal” blow of next Fall, when students may opt to not return and wait things out.


tim-rostan-tweet-20April2020 Gap years for all, says professor in California."

tim-rostan-tweet-20April2020 Gap years for all, says professor in California.”

“The hit is huge,” Larry Ladd, a consultant with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, told Bloomberg. “They will have less financial cushion because that summer revenue is no longer is there.”

Worse, high school guidance counselors and parents are well aware of this ‘state of limbo’ and don’t want to risk major investment in their entering college freshmen’s education when there may not be a Fall semester. Bloomberg continues:

“I would tell kids: Number one, the likelihood of having face-to-face classes in September is pretty darn small,” said Scott White, a retired guidance director for more than 20 years at Montclair High School in New Jersey. Referring to Covid-19’s risk to older people, he said: “You’re not going to get 65-year-old college professors going in.”

Northwestern University is still making that tough call. “Our return to on-campus instruction in the summer or fall quarters is also not guaranteed,” the school’s president, Morton Schapiro, wrote in a letter Thursday. He said the decision to refund room-and-board payments and student fees for the spring had cost more than $25 million, and the school is facing more losses from endowment declines, increased financial aid and the cancellation of some on-campus programs.

Another consultant said “empty dorms is what kills colleges” — precisely the state of things at institutions across the nation at least through summer.

Empty campus amid coronavirus lockdown: California State University, Northridge resembles a ghost town during lockdown. Image source: Danielle Tranter/

Empty campus amid coronavirus lockdown: California State University, Northridge resembles a ghost town during lockdown. Image source: Danielle Tranter/

While wealthier schools such as Harvard, Brown and Princeton are expected to weather the storm with greater ease, with some already offering students housing credit and prorated refunds conditioned in their return to campus, the crisis has hit student housing managers and investors hard for the majority of campuses in which the university doesn’t own its own student housing. Some students and families are already suing to get tuition and campus fee refunds.

Needless to say this is completely uncharted territory for institutions which of necessity make all their major funding, staffing, and financial decisions some six months before the Fall opening and start of the semester. Like other sectors of the US economy, universities are bracing for the avalanche of debt problems sure to roll down hill into the still very much up-in-the-air Fall semester.



Shocking Data Show 40% Of American College Students Never Graduate

by Tyler Durden 12December2018

As we’ve pointed out time and time again, the notion that going to college guarantees a higher paying job and a better standard of living is a myth (‘millennial Congresswoman’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez effectively embodies this myth; she worked as a bartender before launching her upset primary campaign, despite graduating with a degree in economics from Boston University, and has spoken about feeling directionless after graduating with a mountain of student debt).

Generally speaking, data suggests that college graduates earn higher incomes, face lower unemployment and happier and healthier than their peers who don’t have a degree. But these general figures mask the fact that millions of degree holders are defaulting on their student loans (one study published in August said 30% of student loans are in their default, or in arrears) and also struggling with underemployment or being stuck working jobs that don’t require a college degree. One million Americans default on their student loans every year. And if defaults continue at their current pace, roughly 40% of borrowers will have defaulted by 2023.

With so many flashing red warning signs, the fact that the risks posed by this teetering pile of $1.4 trillion in debt have received only glancing coverage in the financial press is astounding. Coverage of the rising cost of higher education always carefully asserts the old conventional wisdom – that, even with the debt, the underemployment and their resulting stressors (reams of data suggest that American millennials are delaying marriage, family formation and buying a home, largely because of their student loan debt), young Americans are still better off with a degree than without one.


College Debt

College Debt

Which is why it was almost refreshing to see the Wall Street Journal publish a story deconstructing these myths. A story that acknowledged – in its opening paragraphs, no less – that “college graduates can end up worse off than people who haven’t gone to college at all.”

In fact, 32% of college grads (a group that, we imagine, includes a large number of gender studies majors) end up with jobs that don’t require a degree 10 years after graduation.


32% of college grads end up with jobs that don't require a degree 10 years after graduation.

32% of college grads end up with jobs that don’t require a degree 10 years after graduation.

But students who start college, but never finish, are worse off than their peers who earn their degrees (regardless of how long it took to finish). But how many students end up in this predicament? A surprising number, as it turns out. For every 100 students who enroll in university, 40 will never finish. Of these 40, 32 will still need to pay off student loans. Roughly 10 of these 32 – roughly 30% – will eventually default. That’s compared with 5 out of 42 graduates who carry loans.

As the chart below shows, students with “some college” struggle with unemployment rates that are nearly as high as students with only a high school degree.

Students with "some college" struggle with unemployment rates that are nearly as high as students with only a high school degree.

Students with “some college” struggle with unemployment rates that are nearly as high as students with only a high school degree.

Their earnings potential is also far closer to those with only a high school diploma than students who finish college.


Their earnings potential is also far closer to those with only a high school diploma than students who finish college.

Their earnings potential is also far closer to those with only a high school diploma than students who finish college.

The average student loan burden for Americans has nearly doubled over the past 20 years.


The average student loan burden for Americans has nearly doubled over the past 20 years.

The average student loan burden for Americans has nearly doubled over the past 20 years.

To sum up, while a college degree can bestow higher earning capabilities, students shouldn’t enroll without a clear plan for how they’re going to make a living post-grad.



Americans Believe an Internship at Google is More Valuable Than a Degree From Harvard

Posted by 10January2020

“According to a December survey of 2,000 adults”"”

This is probably true. Even if you don’t end up working at Google, just having it on your resume would open a lot of doors.

The College Fix reports:

Americans believe a Google internship is more valuable than a Harvard degree

Once you get into Harvard University, do you actually learn anything that is useful in the real world, or do you just emerge with a fancy credential?

According to a December survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by Kaplan and conducted by QuestResearch Group, far more Americans think an internship with Google is more valuable (60 percent) than a Harvard degree (40 percent) for high school graduates.

Brandon Busteed, president of university partners at Kaplan, analyzes the survey results in a post at Forbes. The percentages are closer when parents are asked what they’d prefer for their own child, but even then Google (52 percent) has the advantage over Harvard (48 percent).

A mid-November survey that asked a slightly different question was even more strongly in favor of the internship (68 percent): “If you had $50,000 to invest in helping your child get a good job, how would you rather spend it?”

Busteed notes that “it suggests many parents are willing to invest in an internship experience”:

This opens a whole new dimension to the talent development marketplace where one can imagine a world where employers and education partners team up to provide tuition-based internship programs. …

It’s an opportunity to create an innovative fusion between education and work where higher education remains relevant but in very different forms. It’s an opportunity for colleges and universities to go beyond the accredited degree model and expand into the rapidly growing space of non-degree, certificate and certification training. And it opens the possibility of new partnership models between employers and universities that produce interesting variants of apprenticeships, co-ops, and internships.



Two-Thirds Of College Grads Regret Their Diploma, Costs And Major

Tyler Durden
Submitted by Andrew Malcolm at Hot Air

For decades now it’s been a sellers’ market for American universities. Conventional wisdom held that the most important way to succeed in life was to get a college diploma, no matter the cost. Perhaps you’ve noticed university tuitions going up and up. And up. Inexorably.

And so has the debt incurred by their students and those students’ parents. It now totals about $1.6 trillion.

This being another tedious presidential election season, such a massive debt burden has attracted the attention of feeding politicians seeking to reap votes from younger Americans tasked with repaying the loans they signed up for.

As we wrote here earlier this week, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro and a growing list of the growing field of candidates have announced various plans to make public school tuitions free and to forgive these massive debts using — you guessed it — new taxes on someone else, namely the well-to-do.

Now comes a new wrinkle in these schemes and the universities’ hopes of continuing to reap huge tuition increases.

A new poll of nearly a quarter-million Americans has found fully two-thirds of them have buyer’s remorse about their diploma, their major and the higher education experience in general. How much longer do you think folks are going to keep paying such fees that produce such dissatisfaction and unhappiness?

Not surprisingly perhaps, the new survey found the top regret was incurring immense debts for that higher education, a debt whose payments run on for many years, causing postponed marriages and families. An estimated 70 percent of college graduates this year finished school with loans to repay averaging $33,000.

Even older baby boomers are incurring college debts as they return to school for training in new areas not affected by automation and other labor-saving methods. The survey by PayScale found that even Americans over age 62 had some $86 billion in unpaid debts, theirs or their childrens’.

The second largest graduate regret was their choice of college majors. Sen. Marco Rubio has noted in speeches that the occupational demand for Greek philosophers has not been good for about 2,000 years.

Three-quarters of humanities graduates expressed regrets over their choice of study areas, tied to their difficulty finding employment in those areas at higher paying jobs enabling them to pay down the debt.

Most satisfied were majors in math, science, tech and especially engineering. More than a third of computer science grads and four-in-ten engineering grads had no regrets about their area choice of studies.

Interestingly though, teachers expressed the least regrets over their career choices, second least to engineers, despite the chronically low pay of such educators.



Over 25% Of College Degrees Have A Negative Return On Investment

by Tyler Durden 10November2021 –

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

The median bachelor’s degree has a net ROI of $306,000. But some degrees are worth millions of dollars, while others have no net financial value at all

What is your College Major Worth?

What is your College Major Worth?

Is College Worth It? 

Please consider a Comprehensive Return on Investment Analysis of College Degrees.

For students who graduate on time, the median bachelor’s degree has a net ROI of $306,000. But some degrees are worth millions of dollars, while others have no net financial value at all.

After accounting for the risk of dropping out, ROI for the median bachelor’s degree drops to $129,000. Over a quarter of programs have negative ROI.

For the most part, students’ earnings with a degree exceed their earnings without a degree. At age 45, the typical college graduate out-earns her counterfactual self by over $25,000 per year. But there are exceptions. About 7% of programs, mostly in art, music, and religion, have higher counterfactual earnings at age 45. In other words, these programs would not pay off even if there were no other costs to college.

ROI varies substantially by major. Sixty-nine percent of engineering programs deliver a lifetime payoff of $1 million or more, and 97% have ROI of at least $500,000. Another strong major is computer science, where 85% of programs have ROI exceeding half a million dollars. Programs in transportation, construction, and architecture also deliver handsome rewards to their students: 77% have a payoff above $500,000.

But plenty of programs have ROI that students might consider disappointing. 68 percent of programs in visual arts and music have negative ROI, meaning graduates are worse off financially for having received their degree. A majority of programs in philosophy and religious studies leave their students in the red, along with 28% of programs in psychology, English, liberal arts, and humanities.

A surprisingly high 31% of programs in life sciences and biology have negative ROI. The most likely explanation is that many students pursue these majors in preparation for a lucrative graduate degree in medicine. The ROI analysis in this report considers returns on the bachelor’s degree alone. If biology students don’t use their degree as a springboard for medical school, they will typically see disappointing returns.

None of this is the least bit surprising. Yet, every year tens of thousands of students pick college programs that make no economic sense.

And that does not account for dropouts where 100% of programs have negative ROI.

Add to that kids pressured into college who would really rather be in a trade.

Parents with kids in high school should read the report and so should their kids. It’s quite comprehensive with a dozen charts.

*  *  *



What Gen Z Learned From Millennials: Skip College

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden
by Tyler Durden 06January2019

Authored by Andrew Moran via,

Generation Z is already learning from the millennial generation’s mistakes…

For years, millennials have scoffed at the notion of fixing someone else’s toilet, installing elevators, or cleaning a patient’s teeth. Instead, they wanted to get educated in lesbian dance theory, gender studies, and how white people and western civilization destroyed the world. As a result, student loan debt has surpassed the $1 trillion mark, the youth unemployment rate hovers around 9%, and the most tech-savvy and educated generation is delaying adulthood.

But their generational successors are not making the same mistakes, choosing to put in a good day’s work rather than whining on Twitter about how “problematic” the TV series Seinfeld was. It appears that young folks are paying attention to the wisdom of Mike Rowe, the American television host who has highlighted the benefits and importance of trade schools and blue-collar work – he has also made headlines for poking fun at man-babies and so-called Starbucks shelters.

Will Generation Z become the laughing stock of the world, too? Unlikely.


Z Is Abandoning University

Z Is Abandoning University

Z Is Abandoning University

A new report from VICE Magazine suggests that Generation Z – those born around the late-1990s and early-2000s – are turning to trade schools, not university and college, for careers. Ostensibly, a growing number of younger students are seeing stable paychecks in in-demand fields without having to collapse under the weight of crushing debt.

Because Gen Zers want to learn now and work now, they are abandoning the traditional four-year route, a somewhat precocious response to the ever-evolving global economy.

Cosmetologist, petroleum technician, and respiratory therapist are just some of the positions that this generation of selfies, Snapchat, and emoticons are taking. And this is an encouraging development, considering that participation in career and technical education (CTE) has steadily declined since 1990.

David Abreu, a teacher at Queens Technical High School, told a class of young whippersnappers at the start of the semester:

“When you go out there, there’s no reason why anyone should be sitting on mommy’s couch, eating cereal, and watching cartoons or a telenovela. There’s tons of construction, and there’s not enough people. So they’re hiring from outside of New York City. They’re getting people from the Midwest. I love the accents, but they don’t have enough of you.”

While students feel the pressure of attaining a four-year degree in a subject that offers fewer employment opportunities, the blue-collar jobs are out there to be filled. It is estimated that more than one-third of businesses in construction, manufacturing, and financial services are unable to fill open jobs, mainly because of a skills shortage and a paucity of qualifications.

This could change in the coming years.

The Future Of College

Over the last decade or so, the college experience has turned into a circus. At Evergreen College, the inmates ran the asylum. The University of Missouri staff requested “some muscle over here” to suppress journalists. Harvard University has turned into a politically correct institution. What do all these places of higher learning have in common? They’re losing money, whether it’s from fewer donations or tumbling enrollment.

Not only are these places of higher learning metastasizing into leftist indoctrination centers, their rates for graduates obtaining employment are putrid. And parents and students are realizing this.

With the trend of Gen Zers embracing the trades, the future of post-secondary education might be different. Since colleges need to remain competitive in the sector, they will have to offer alternative programs and eliminate eclectic courses, and the administration will be required to justify their utility.

A pupil seeking out a STEM education will not be subjected to the inane ramblings of an ecofeminism teacher or the asinine curriculum of a queer theory course.

Moreover, colleges could no longer afford to spend chunks of their budgets on opulent settings. A student interested in the trades is unlikely to be attracted to in-house day spas, luxury dorms, and exorbitant gyms. They want the skills, the tools, and the training to garner a high-paying career without sacrificing 15 years’ worth of earnings just so they could enjoy lobster for lunch twice a week.

Generation Smart?

Millennials are typically the butt of jokes, known for texting in the middle of job interviews, demanding complicated Starbucks beverages, and ignoring their friends at the restaurant. Perhaps Generation Z doesn’t want to experience the same humiliation and stereotypes. This could explain why they are dismissing the millennial trends and instead adopting common sense, conservatism, tradition, and anything else that is contrary to those who need to be coddled.

The next 20 years should be fascinating.

In 2039, Ryder, who prefers the pronoun “xe,” is employed as a barista, a position he claims is temporary to pay off his student debt. He lives on his friend’s sofa, still protests former President Donald Trump, and spends his disposable income on tattoos. In the same year, Frank operates an HVAC business, owns his home without a mortgage, and has a wife and three children who enjoy their summer weekends at the ballpark with the grandparents.


Millennial Barista vs. Gen Z Carpenter

Millennial Barista vs. Gen Z Carpenter

One went to college for feminist philosophy, the other went to trade school. You decide who.



Four Reasons Why College Degrees Are Becoming Useless

by Tyler Durden  15June2017

Authored by Jonathan Newman via The Mises Institute,

Students are running out of reasons to pursue higher education. Here are four trends documented in recent articles:

Graduates have little to no improvement in critical thinking skills

The Wall Street Journalreported on the troubling results of the College Learning Assessment Plus test (CLA+), administered in over 200 colleges across the US.

According to the WSJ, “At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table”. The outcomes were the worst in large, flagship schools: “At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.”

There is extensive literature on two mechanisms by which college graduates earn higher wages: actually learning new skills or by merely holding a degree for the world to see (signaling). The CLA+ results indicate that many students aren’t really learning valuable skills in college.

As these graduates enter the workforce and reveal that they do not have the required skills to excel in their jobs, employers are beginning to discount the degree signal as well. Google, for example, doesn’t care if potential hires have a college degree. They look past academic credentials for other characteristics that better predict job performance.

Shouting matches have invaded campuses across the country

It seems that developing critical thinking skills has taken a backseat to shouting matches in many US colleges. At Evergreen State College in Washington, student protests have hijacked classrooms and administration. Protesters took over the administration offices last month, and have disrupted classes as well. It has come to the point where enrollment has fallen so dramatically that government funding is now on the line.

The chaos at Evergreen resulted in “anonymous threats of mass murder, resulting in the campus being closed for three days.” One wonders if some of these students are just trying to get out of class work and studying by staging a campus takeover in the name of identity politics and thinly-veiled racism.

The shouting match epidemic hit Auburn University last semester when certain alt-right and Antifa groups (who are more similar than either side would admit) came from out of town to stir up trouble. Neither outside group offered anything of substance for discourse, just empty platitudes and shouting. I was happy to see that the general response from Auburn students was to mock both sides or to ignore the event altogether. Perhaps the Auburn Young Americans for Liberty group chose the best course of action: hosting a concert elsewhere on campus to pull attention and attendance away from both groups of loud but empty-headed out-of-towners. Of the students who chose not to ignore the event, my favorite Auburn student response was a guy dressed as a carrot holding a sign that read, “I Don’t CARROT ALL About Your Outrage.”


“I Don’t CARROT ALL About Your Outrage.”

“I Don’t CARROT ALL About Your Outrage.”


Trade schools and self-study offer better outcomes for many

College dropouts are doing just fine, bucking the stereotype. Some determined young people are skipping college altogether to pursue their business ideas. Many are also choosing trade schools, which require less time and tuition money, but graduates end up with a specific set of skills. Trade school graduates leave school prepared for the industry they enter, where they can earn much higher wages than many four-year degree-holders.

Young men in particular are leaving colleges in droves. Over the past decade, 30% of male freshmen dropped out before starting a second year. The journalists, psychologists, and sociologists who comment on this trend can’t figure out how to fit it into a narrative [emphasis mine]:

“This is very concerning to me,” Hunter Reed said. Young men — like all students, she emphasized — need support from a variety of groups to thrive in higher education.


“The most successful have a sense of place in college,” she said.


Stark, 28, studied computer science for a year and a half before leaving Metro State University to study on his own.


Now a software engineer for a music company in Denver, Stark also DJs at some of the area’s most notable nightclubs. “What I was getting in the classroom just didn’t jibe with me. I felt I could teach myself on the Internet,” he said.


He worked a fast-food job and then took a corporate gig to support himself while he studied on his own. The alternative, he said, was to work four years to get a bachelor’s degree and then another year or two to earn a master’s degree, then “go to work for some huge company and go home at night and live my life with my family. And that just didn’t sound appealing to me at the time.”

Notice the call for helping these poor young men “thrive in higher education” that precedes a small anecdote about one man who dropped out and ended up just fine. Later in the same article, the author says that young men shouldn’t assume they will do well if they drop out, but then equivocates by turning it into a gender wage-gap problem to explain how some men do seem to turn out fine after dropping out:

Observers say many young men delude themselves into thinking they are one idea away from being the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. They think they can make a fortune without a college degree, said Riseman. “As a result, they enter college with little sense of purpose and end up failing out,” he said. “While these dropouts imagine they can succeed without a degree, successful start-ups are rare.”


While young men without degrees, in general, land higher-paying jobs than their female peers, many of the top-paying jobs are in high-risk industries like oil and gas or manufacturing.

Tuition is increasing, but future earnings are decreasing

In another recent WSJarticle, we see the financial consequences of these trends. While tuition keeps climbing across the country, the prospective earnings of graduates aren’t keeping up. There is a lot of variation across colleges and majors, but the overall trend is that the returns to a four-year degree are decreasing.

Since students are just getting started in life, it means that they must borrow to pay for these expensive degrees that don’t guarantee higher earnings. Total student loans are at $1.3 trillion and climbing. These loans have no collateral and cannot be dissolved through bankruptcy.



The New York Fed tracks the delinquency rate for different types of loans.

The New York Fed tracks the delinquency rate for different types of loans.

The New York Fed tracks the delinquency rate for different types of loans. As of the first quarter of 2017, total student loan debt was increasing the most and had the highest delinquency rate.

These trends are unsustainable. The higher education system seems to be suffering from both economic and cultural issues, but these two types of problems often cause each other in a feedback loop. The ultimate cause for both of them is political.



 Welcome to the real world, debt serfs...

Welcome to the real world, debt serfs…

What The Fed Won’t Tell You About Student Debt

Two weeks ago, the San Fran Fed released “research” on the topic of whether “it is still worth going to college.” What it “found” was that “Earning a four-year college degree remains a worthwhile investment for the average student…. The average college graduate paying annual tuition of about $20,000 can recoup the costs of schooling by age 40. After that, the difference between earnings continues such that the average college graduate earns over $800,000 more than the average high school graduate by retirement age… We show that the value of a college degree remains high, and the average college graduate can recover the costs of attending in less than 20 years. Once the investment is paid for, it continues to pay dividends through the rest of the worker’s life, leaving college graduates with substantially higher lifetime earnings than their peers with a high school degree.”

What was left unsaid, of course, is that the SF Fed merely was tasked with goalseeking a study that seeks to perpetuate America’s most exponential chart. The one showing federal student loans, which as we showed recently just hit an aggregate total of over $1.1 trillion, increasing 12%, or $125 billion, from this time last year.


Student Debt 1950 - 2010

Student Debt 1950 – 2010

As we have shown in the past (here and here), since US consumers have largely given up on the two conventional forms of leverage – credit cards and mortgages – no (taxpayer-funded) expense will be spared to promote the myth that (federal-debt funded) higher education is the way to go.

Alas, the San Fran Fed ignored something important. This is how we concluded our article: “Perhaps for the San Fran Fed to be taken seriously one of these years, it will actually do an analysis that covers all sides of a given problem, instead of just the one it was goalseeked to “conclude” before any “research” was even attempted.”

Namely the impact of debt.

And since the Fed can’t be bothered with an objective analysis covering both sides the most important debt issue for America, we go to Pew which recently concluded an analysis on the impact of student debt and found that “Student debt burdens are weighing on the economic fortunes of younger Americans, as households headed by young adults owing student debt lag far behind their peers in terms of wealth accumulation.”

At the big picture level, there is nothing surprising here, but the extent to which student debt burdens cripple wealth formation and accumulation was indeed stunning and explains why the Fed had to explicitly omit the impact of debt on one’s long-term well-being, because the result is nothing short of shocking.

From Pew:

About four-in-ten U.S. households (37%) headed by an adult younger than 40 currently have some student debt—the highest share on record, with the median outstanding student debt load standing at about $13,ooo.

An analysis of the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances finds that households headed by a young, college-educated adult without any student debt obligations have about seven times the typical net worth ($64,700) of households headed by a young, college-educated adult with student debt ($8,700). And the wealth gap is also large for households headed by young adults without a bachelor’s degree: Those with no student debt have accumulated roughly nine times as much wealth as debtor households ($10,900 vs. $1,200). This is true despite the fact that debtors and non-debtors have nearly identical household incomes in each group.

pew student debt 1

Another not surprising tangent: those who borrow to pay for college, are most likely to borrow for everything else too.

Among the young and college educated, the typical total indebtedness (including mortgage debt, vehicle debt and credit cards, as well as student debt) of student debtor households ($137,010) is almost twice the overall debt load of similar households with no student debt ($73,250). Among less-educated households, the total debt load of student debtors ($28,300) is more than ten times that of similar households not owing student debt ($2,500).

pew student debt 2

Either that, or households which do not have to borrow to pay for college, most likely don’t have to pay for other expenses. In other words, Pew uncovered the profound tautology that if you are rich, you remain rich, which all those others in the lower and middle classes who aspire to reach the upper class thanks to easy and cheap debt, only bury themselves even more in their aspirational approach to purchase class status with debt.

As American Interest observes about the Pew research, “the report revealed an alarming trend: While the total debt burden of households without student debt has declined since 2007, the total debt burden of households with student debt has increased. This holds true for all student debtors, whether they completed college or not.

There’s no way to figure out what is behind this huge disparity in wealth accumulation. As the study notes, it’s understandable that young people who went into debt to pay for college also lacked the money to pay for cars and other expenses, and thus borrowed more. The data may also reveal a widening gap between two types of people who go to college: those wealthy enough to afford most if not all of tuition, and those who have to borrow (and keep borrowing) to keep up with the spiraling costs.


Student debt is obviously an enormous burden on a household, and one that seems to set off a domino effect of borrowing. If we want to make sure that college students aren’t feeling the pain of student loans well into middle age (as a recent Gallop poll says they do), we’d better try to make college more affordable. After looking at these figures, can you doubt the severity of the problem?

By now we doubt anyone doubts the severity of the problem. What may be confusing, however, is the problem itself which after Pew’s far better research can be concluded as follows:

  • The San Francisco Fed is absolutely right in that college education is extremely valuable if one is rich enough to be able to afford it without resorting to debt. For those who need student loans to pay for college, the debt cost most likely vastly outweights the benefits from increasingly diminishing cash flows for college graduates, and it is certainly unclear if as the San Fran Fed concludes, the costs are more than paid off within 20 years. This is a profound falacy since there has been no cohort whose college debt IRR can be tested in a 20 year window, since the exponential rise in student debt only took over after the Lehman collapse (for one of the main reasons why college became so expensive following Lehman, read here).
  • The San Francisco Fed is absolutely wrong in not distinguishing how one funds their college education. Because the bottom line is that college educated households which took on student debt have a net worth of $8,700, which is less than the $10,900 net worth of not college educated households who don’t have student debt!

In any case, the conclusion is clear: if one is rich enough to be able to afford college tuition, room and board without requiring debt, college is a no brainer. For everyone else the payoff of a college education, especially in an economy where college grads are certainly not assured quality paying jobs, is far less clear and in fact as Pew finds, one is better off not borrowing to go to college.

Of course, the direct implication here is also very clear, if very sad: the rich who can afford college, will end up becoming even richer thanks to the better-paying jobs their degree affords them, while everyone else will either drown under the weight of student loans, or simply be relegated to far less-paying jobs during their career. And while the Fed can be confused about this conclusion, not even the Fed is confused that it itself is the reason for this record and increasing disparity between rich and poor.

So the next time you curse someone for making college so expensive you need hundreds of thousands in debt to pay for it, or are cursing the fate that made you into a 40+ year old debt slave, aim those curses where they belong: Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and now, obviously, Janet Yellen. Because for all the “confusion” about America’s record wealth divide that French socialists have to reprise the role of Karl Marx in the process selling blockbuster books to a new generation of pre-communists, the fundamental reason for the greatest class divide in history is a very simple three letter word: the Fed.


America Is A Moral Cesspool, And Student Loans Prove It

BY TYLER DURDEN 26July2021 –

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

If America somehow managed to educate millions of college students without burdening them with $2 trillion in debt in 1993, why is it now “impossible” to do so, even as America’s wealth and gross national product (GDP) have both rocketed higher over the past 27 years?


Predators thrive on Americans’ short memories. Student loans in their present scale did not exist prior to 1994. According to the Federal Reserve FRED database, the student loan balance was zero in 1993.

From zero in 1993 to $1.728 trillion in 2021: this is the predatory financialization of higher education which has enriched lenders, Wall Street and the Higher Education Cartel. As I’ve noted before, such parasitic rapaciousness would have been criminal a few generations ago; now it’s cheered as a reliable source of profits by Wall Street and treated as business as usual by the corporate-owned media.

Student-loans owned and Securitized - Outstanding 7-2021

Student-loans owned and Securitized – Outstanding 7-2021


If America somehow managed to educate millions of college students without burdening them with $2 trillion in debt in 1993, why is it now “impossible” to do so, even as America’s wealth and gross national product (GDP) have both rocketed higher over the past 27 years?

America is now a moral cesspool, and student loans prove it. Note that the $1.728 trillion isn’t the entire load of debt crushing students; that’s only the securitized student loans. Wily sharpsters have found all sorts of private-debt niches which they sell as “student loans” but which are actually consumer loans. Then there’s the credit card debt from card issuers giving students “student-only cards.” Add it all up and the total likely exceeds $2 trillion.

Monopolies, cartels, profiteers and insiders always have a raft of excuses and justifications for their exploitation of the powerless, and all those profiting from the $2 trillion have the usual excuses plus a novel set of noble-sounding academic rationalizations.

Journalist Matt Taibbi lays waste to one slice of the student loan racket in The Trillion-Dollar Lie (courtesy of correspondent Joel W.), the legal foundation of the entire parasitic swindle: “students can’t escape student loans in bankruptcy court.” But suppose the legal edifice were to recognize that universities are not “non-profits” but are instead a racketeering cartel?

While crying poor, universities have pursued a construction boom of trophy buildings without precedent and piled up slush funds with hundreds of millions of dollars extracted from student debt-serfs. If this doesn’t make your blood boil, then you must be swimming laps in America’s moral cesspool, praising the putrid stench as “the smell of money.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Way back in 2012 I laid out a way to offer 4-year university degrees for 10% of the current cost (minus living expenses, which accrue whether you’re a student or not) in my book The Nearly Free University. There are models which would produce better educational results at a fraction of the current bloated cost.

To all those swimming laps in America’s moral cesspool, a few words of warning:

1. America has run out of powerless people who can be exploited and turned into debt-serfs.

2. The pendulum of exploitation, racketeering and greed that’s been pushed to near-infinity is about to swing to the other extreme. The banquet of consequences will soon be served, and the doors to the banquet hall will be locked. The courses in karma and Divine Retribution will be especially enlightening.



Thanks To Their Student Loans, Millennials Expect To Die In Debt

by Tyler Durden  14January2019 –
Authored by Chloe Anagnos via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Adulting, the now common idiom goes, is hard. And to many millennials, the grim realization that debt will always be part of their lives is not making it any easier.

In some cases, their debt load is so soul-crushing they expect to die without ever paying what they owe back. So how much does this problem have to do with the higher-education crisis the country is facing? As it turns out, everything.

According to a study by Northwestern Mutual, educational loans are the leading source of debt for millennials ages 18 to 24. And according to a report, over 60 percent of millennials aged 18 to 37 are completely unsure when, or if, they will be able to pay their debt off. Among those who responded they are uncertain about their ability to pay off debt, 20 percent said they expected to die in debt.

But to those with only credit card debt, the prospects aren’t as grim, as 79 percent of millennials said they had a plan to pay it all off, expecting to be completely debt-free by age 43.

While many of the news outlets reporting on these findings urge young people to get a plan in place so they can pay off their debt, the reality is that government’s push to give everyone a college education is what has greatly contributed to young people’s debt load. And what’s worse, degreesare not actually helping many young people get a job.

Will bureaucrats and those who pushed for more government-subsidized education ever admit they created a monster that has finally gotten out of control?

Government’s Role in Millennials’ Bad Choices

When government and elected officials push college education as a right, they imply that the government has the duty to help provide it to the populace. With grants, subsidies, and easy, risk-free loans going out to 17-year-olds with no credit history, young people think pursuing the career of their dreams is a piece of cake. But once school is out and all they have is a diploma, they finally realize things weren’t as easy as they expected.

The problem is that when government enters the picture and makes it easier for consumers to pay for college, it artificially increases the demand for college. With a greater number of students demanding higher education, schools have to raise their prices. After all, they have a limited supply of what they offer.

As explained by economist Ryan McMaken, “Were it not for the subsidized loans and — in the case of public colleges — directly subsidized tuition, the number of students able to afford such degrees would shrink considerably.” With fewer students knocking on their doors, colleges would have to slash costs and, consequently, prices, just so they could fill up their empty classrooms. But to bureaucrats, the solution doesn’t lie with letting the market work. Instead, they want more government interference.

Pushing for better loan deals, more regulation, or penalties for students who can’t pay the loans back, bureaucrats and their supporters are only worsening the problem they created.

In an age in which more and more employers are ditching degree requirements, paying for a piece of paper proving you finished college is becoming increasingly unnecessary.

The government continues to head in the wrong direction, giving young people the idea that college is for everyone. If this doesn’t prove the government doesn’t have our best interests at heart, nothing else does.



Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,


SAT Student loan repayment cartoon

SAT Student loan repayment cartoon

Are you thinking of going to college? If so, please consider that decision very carefully. You probably have lots of people telling you that an “education” is the key to your future and that you will never be able to get a “good job” unless you go to college. And it is true that those that go to college do earn more on average than those that do not. However, there is also a downside.

At most U.S. colleges, the quality of the education that you will receive is a joke, the goal of most colleges is to extract as much money from you and your parents as they possibly can, and there is a very good chance that there will not be a “good job” waiting for you once you graduate. And unless you have someone that is willing to pay your tuition bills, you will probably be facing a lifetime of crippling student loan debt payments once you get out into the real world. So is college a waste of time and money? In the end, it really pays to listen to both sides of the debate. [wpex Read more]

Personally, I spent eight years at U.S. public universities, and I really enjoyed those times.

But would I trade my degrees today for the time and money that I spent to get them?

As SF Fed notes, Median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers over the past six years. This type of gap in wage growth also appeared after the 2001 recession and closed only late in the subsequent labor market recovery. However the wage gap in the current recovery is substantially larger and has lasted longer than in the past. The larger gap represents slow growth in starting salaries for graduates, rather than a shift in types of jobs, and reflects continued weakness in the demand for labor overall.

As SF Fed notes, Median starting wages of recent college graduates have not kept pace with median earnings for all workers over the past six years. This type of gap in wage growth also appeared after the 2001 recession and closed only late in the subsequent labor market recovery. However the wage gap in the current recovery is substantially larger and has lasted longer than in the past. The larger gap represents slow growth in starting salaries for graduates, rather than a shift in types of jobs, and reflects continued weakness in the demand for labor overall.


Right now, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans, and more than 124 billion dollars of that total is more than 90 days delinquent.

It is a student loan debt bubble unlike anything that we have ever seen before, and now even those that make their living from this system are urging reform. For example, consider what a law professor at the University of Tennessee recently wrote for the Wall Street Journal…

In the field of higher education, reality is outrunning parody. A recent feature on the satire website the Onion proclaimed, “30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education.” Allowing for tuition, interest on student loans, and four years of foregone income while in school, the fictional student “Patrick Moorhouse” wasn’t much better off. His years of stress and study, the article japed, “have been more or less a financial wash.”


“Patrick” shouldn’t feel too bad. Many college graduates would be happy to be $11 ahead instead of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, behind. The credit-driven higher education bubble of the past several decades has left legions of students deep in debt without improving their job prospects. To make college a good value again, today’s parents and students need to be skeptical, frugal and demanding.

When a lot of young Americans graduate from college and can’t find a decent job, they are told that if they really want to “be successful” that what they really need is a graduate degree.

That means more years of education, and in most cases, even more debt.


But by the time many of these young achievers get through college and graduate school, the debt loads can be absolutely overwhelming

Debt burdens vary a lot across majors. In the sixth year of repayment, typical drama, music, religion and anthropology majors are still devoting more than 10 percent of their earnings to loan repayment. Other majors with fairly high early repayment burdens include philosophy, psychology and education. By contrast, engineering, computer science, economics and nursing majors are paying 6 percent or less of earnings in their sixth year.

Debt burdens vary a lot across majors. In the sixth year of repayment, typical drama, music, religion and anthropology majors are still devoting more than 10 percent of their earnings to loan repayment. Other majors with fairly high early repayment burdens include philosophy, psychology and education. By contrast, engineering, computer science, economics and nursing majors are paying 6 percent or less of earnings in their sixth year.

The typical debt load of borrowers leaving school with a master’s, medical, law or doctoral degree jumped an inflation-adjusted 43% between 2004 and 2012, according to a new report by the New America Foundation, a left-leaning Washington think tank. That translated into a median debt load—the point at which half of borrowers owed more and half owed less—of $57,600 in 2012.

Congrats Class Of 2014

Congrats Class Of 2014


The increases were sharper for those pursuing advanced degrees in the social sciences and humanities, versus professional degrees such as M.B.A.s or medical degrees that tend to yield greater long-term returns. The typical debt load of those earning a master’s in education showed some of the largest increases, rising 66% to $50,879. It climbed 54% to $58,539 for those earning a master of arts.

In particular, many are questioning the value of a law school education these days. Law schools are aggressively recruiting students even though they know that there are way, way too many lawyers already. There is no way that the legal field can produce enough jobs for the huge flood of new law school graduates that are hitting the streets each year.

The criticism has become so harsh that even mainstream news outlets are writing about this. For instance, the following comes from a recent CNN article

For the past three years, the media has picked up the attacks with relish. The New York Times, in an article on a graduate with $250,000 in loans, put it this way: “Is Law School a Losing Game?” Referring to the graduate, the Times wrote, “His secret, if that’s the right word, is to pretty much ignore all the calls and letters that he receives every day from the dozen or so creditors now hounding him for cash,” writes the author. Or consider this blunt headline from a recent Business Insider article: “‘I Consider Law School A Waste Of My Life And An Extraordinary Waste Of Money.’” Even though the graduate profiled in the piece had a degree from a Top 20 law school, he’s now bitterly mired in debt. “Because I went to law school, I don’t see myself having a family, earning a comfortable wage, or having an enjoyable lifestyle,” he writes. “I wouldn’t wish my law school experience on my enemy.”

In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt, and the average debt level has been steadily rising. In fact, one study found that “70 percent of the class of 2013 is graduating with college-related debt – averaging $35,200 – including federal, state and private loans, as well as debt owed to family and accumulated through credit cards.”

That would be bad enough if most of these students were getting decent jobs that enabled them to service that debt.

But unfortunately, that is often not the case. It has been estimated that about half of all recent college graduates are working jobs that do not even require a college degree.

Could you imagine that?

Could you imagine investing four or five years and tens of thousands of dollars in a college degree and then working a job that does not even require a degree?

And the really sick thing is that the quality of the education that most college students are receiving is quite pathetic.

Recently, a film crew went down to American University and asked students some really basic questions about our country. The results were absolutely stunning

When asked if they could name a SINGLE U.S. senator, the students blanked. Also, very few knew that each state has two senators. The guesses were all over the map, with some crediting each state with twelve, thirteen, and five senators.

I have posted the YouTube video below. How in the world is it possible that college students in America cannot name a single U.S. senator?…

These are the leaders of tomorrow?

That is a frightening thought.

If parents only knew what their children were being taught at college, in most instances they would be absolutely horrified.

The following is a list of actual college courses that have been taught at U.S. colleges in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Invented Languages: Klingon and Beyond”

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

-“Sport For The Spectator

-“Oh, Look, a Chicken!

That last one is my favorite.

The truth is that many of these colleges don’t really care if your sons and daughters learn much at all. They just want the money to keep rolling in.

And our college students are discovering that when they do graduate that they are woefully unprepared for life on the outside. In fact, one survey found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in college.

In America today, there are more than 300,000 waitresses that have college degrees, and close to three out of every ten adults in the United States under the age of 35 are still living at home with Mom and Dad.

Our system of higher education is not working, and it is crippling an entire generation of Americans.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that college is a waste of time and money?


fleur de lis 11/22/2014

When higher education knowingly creates millions of debt slaves by offering subjects that they know the market will not support they should be made reimburse the students if they cannot find work after a certain period of time. Or they should be in the job placement business. They know very well which subjects yield livelihoods and which are dead ends. The schools have to bear some of the burden. At this point they are putting society as a whole at risk. The students and parents should know the odds and then make an informed decision. It is not for teenagers to be sent to school to keep teachers employed at any cost.


Here’s At Least 260,000 Reasons Why College Isn’t Worth It

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01April2014

Just last week we asked “Is college waste of time and money?” It appears, based on the latest data from the BLS, that for all too many, it absolutely is. As CNN Money reports, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.

via CNN Money,

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.

From the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 last year.A total of 21 states, including New Jersey, New York and Connecticut recently, have higher minimum wage floors than the federal level of $7.25 per hour

Experts point to shifts in the post-recession labor market as the reason for so many college graduates in low-paying jobs.

“The only jobs that we’re growing are low-wage jobs, and at the same time, wages across occupations, especially in low-wage jobs, are declining,”

said Tsedeye Gebreselassie,a staff attorney at the worker advocacy group National Employment Law Project.

Related: Surprising minimum wage jobs

Some 58% of the jobs created during the recent economic recovery have been low-wage positions like retail and food prep workers, according to a 2012 NELP report. These low-wage jobs had a median hourly wage of $13.83 or less.

At the same time, median household income has also dropped by more than $4,000 since 2000, according to the Census Bureau.

This has fed the growing number of college educated workers protesting for higher pay.

Debbra Alexis, a 27-year-old Victoria’s Secret employee with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, gathered more than 800 signatures in support of her campaign for higher pay at her New York City store. The store, part of L Brands (LB), ended up giving across-the-board raises of about $1 to $2 per hour to all workers in the Herald Square store.

Related: Millennials turn up heat against low wages

A group of Kaplan tutors in New York City also formed a union to bargain for better wages.

And fast food worker Bobby Bingham, who got a bachelor’s degree from University of Missouri in Kansas City, works four part-time low-wage jobs just to barely scrape by.


The consensus among these workers is that they thought pursuing pricey degrees would buy them access into the middle class. But that has been far from the reality in the wake of the recession.

“My family told me, ‘just get your degree and it will be fine,'”

Bingham told CNNMoney. “A degree looks very nice, but I don’t have a job to show for it.”[wpex Read more]


Finally, a video in a story that comes the closest to the way I think it is. Back in the 70s, when I was in college going for a degree in chemistry, we were told only about one out of three starting chemistry majors graduate with a BS in chemistry. Now days too many people aren’t prepared in HS for obtaining a degree that takes up a lot of time in lectures, labs, homework, self discipline, and mental muscle. Too bad this article didn’t list the types of degrees where you make the minimum wage with a college degree because I can tell you there are darn few waiting tables with a STEM degree [STEM is an acronym referring to the fields of study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]. So if you want a good chance to make near the minimum wage take the easy way out when it comes to what you get your degree in. Our society has to get back to where it pushes most kids to get a world class competitive education, like it used to, with consequences from the parents and teachers in elementary and high school when they aren’t doing what is required and quit this PC crap about everybody being a winner and the like because they aren’t. I think going back to the teaching process of the 50s and 60s, only update the content of the science, history, literature, and other courses where the information changes with time. Part of this means separating out the kids that want to and can learn into classes appropriate for them, and have other classes appropriate for those that are disabled or constantly causing trouble. The idea of mainstreaming is nice but results in too much burden on the teachers and takes away from the rest of the class. Political correctness and not being able to discriminate between those that can and those that can’t sounds nice but is ruining the competitiveness of this country and putting many people in minimum wage jobs because that’s all they can do while the technology needs for good jobs marches on.


I agree. My niece’s husband sent out over a 100 resumes before graduating. Got one job offer, which he accepted. Three months later graduated and showed up for work. The position was cancelled. (No letter, email or phone call mentioning this before he relocated.) Since then , over a thousand applications. Some responses, very few interviews and no offers. His major – mathematics. Sample of one, not statistically valid but very real.



The Upside Case Of A College Education In One Chart

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 03/28/2014 15:54 -0400

Late last night we presented a scathing report highlighting the extensive downside case why a college education may be best described as a “waste of time and money.” But surely it can’t be all “cons” – after all, with student debt now well over an all time high $1 trillion (ignoring that a substantial amount of that notional is used for anything but) there must be a reason why year after year record amounts of young adults scramble into the warm embrace and soothing promises about the future of a college education… which has never cost more.

Why? In order to present a balanced view, on the chart below we show the conventional wisdom about the “pros” of higher learning.

Earnings and unemployment rate by education in the U.S. 2013

Earnings and unemployment rate by education in the U.S. 2013

We leave it up to our readers to decide if the lifetime NPV of loan outflows is enough to make up for the increased weekly wages and so called greater career opportunities arising from having a piece of paper with some Latin scribbles on it.


9 Of The Top 10 Occupations In America Pay An Average Wage Of Less Than $35,000 A Year

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04April2014

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

According to stunning new numbers just released by the federal government, that we detailed yesterday, nine of the top ten most commonly held jobs in the United States pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year. When you break that down, that means that most of these workers are making less than $3,000 a month before taxes. And once you consider how we are being taxed into oblivion, things become even more frightening. Can you pay a mortgage and support a family on just a couple grand a month? Of course not. In the old days, a single income would enable a family to live a very comfortable middle class lifestyle in most cases. But now those days are long gone.

In 2014, both parents are expected to work, and in many cases both of them have to get multiple jobs just in order to break even at the end of the month. The decline in the quality of our jobs is a huge reason for the implosion of the middle class in this country. You can’t have a middle class without middle class jobs, and we have witnessed a multi-decade decline in middle class jobs in the United States. As long as this trend continues, the middle class is going to continue to shrink.[wpex Read more]

The following is a list of the most commonly held jobs in America according to the federal government. As you can see, 9 of the top 10 most commonly held occupations pay an average wage of less than $35,000 a year

  1. Retail salespersons, 4.48 million workers earning $25,370
  2. Cashiers 3.34 million workers earning $20,420
  3. Food prep and serving staff, 3.02 million workers earning $18,880
  4. General office clerk, 2.83 million working earning $29,990
  5. Registered nurses, 2.66 million workers earning $68,910
  6. Waiters and waitresses, 2.40 million workers earning $20,880
  7. Customer service representatives, 2.39 million workers earning $33,370
  8. Laborers, and freight and material movers, 2.28 million workers earning $26,690
  9. Secretaries and admins (not legal or medical), 2.16 million workers earning $34,000
  10. Janitors and cleaners (not maids), 2.10 million workers earning, $25,140

Overall, an astounding 59 percent of all American workers bring home less than $35,000 a year in wages.

So if you are going to make more than $35,000 this year, you are solidly in the upper half.

But that doesn’t mean that you will always be there.

More Americans are falling out of the middle class with each passing day.

Just consider the case of a 47-year-old woman named Kristina Feldotte. Together with her husband, they used to make about $80,000 a year. But since she lost her job three years ago, their combined income has fallen to about $36,000 a year

Three years ago, Kristina Feldotte, 47, and her husband earned a combined $80,000. She considered herself solidly middle class. The couple and their four children regularly vacationed at a lake near their home in Saginaw, Michigan.


But in August 2012, Feldotte was laid off from her job as a special education teacher. She’s since managed to find only part-time teaching work. Though her husband still works as a truck salesman, their income has sunk by more than half to $36,000.

“Now we’re on the upper end of lower class,” Feldotte said.

There is a common assumption out there that if you “have a job” that you must be doing “okay”.

But that is not even close to the truth.

The reality of the matter is that you can even have two or three jobs and still be living in poverty. In fact, you can even be working for the government or the military and still need food stamps

Since the start of the Recession, the dollar amount of food stamps used at military commissaries, special stores that can be used by active-duty, retired, and some veterans of the armed forces has quadrupled, hitting $103 million last year. Food banks around the country have also reported a rise in the number of military families they serve, numbers that swelled during the Recession and haven’t, or have barely, abated.

There are so many people that are really hurting out there.

Today, someone wrote to me about one of my recent articles about food price increases and told me about how produce prices were going through the roof in that particular area. This individual wondered how ordinary families were going to be able to survive in this environment.

That is a very good question.

I don’t know how they are going to survive.

In some cases, the suffering that is going on behind closed doors is far greater than any of us would ever imagine.

And often, it is children that suffer the most

A Texas couple kept their bruised, malnourished 5-year-old son in a diaper and locked in a closet of their Spring home, police said in a horrifying case of abuse.


The tiny, blond-haired boy was severely underweight, his shoulder blades, ribs and vertebrae showing through his skin, when officers found him late last week.

You can see some photos of that poor little boy right here.

I hope that those abusive parents are put away for a very long time.

Sadly, there are lots of kids that are really suffering right now. There are more than a million homeless schoolchildren in America, and there are countless numbers that will go to bed hungry tonight.

But if you live in wealthy enclaves on the east or west coasts, all of this may sound truly bizarre to you. Where you live, you may look around and not see any poverty at all. That is because America has become increasingly segregated by wealth. Some are even calling this the “skyboxification of America”

The richest Americans—the much-talked about 1 percent—are a cloistered class. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz scathingly put it, they “have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live.” The Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel has similarly lamented the “skyboxification” of American life, in which “people of affluence and people of modest means lead increasingly separate lives.”


The substantial and growing gap between the rich and everyone else is increasingly inscribed on our geography. There have always been affluent neighborhoods, gated enclaves, and fabled bastions of wealth like Greenwich, Connecticut; Grosse Pointe, Michigan; Potomac, Maryland; and Beverly Hills, California. But America’s bankers, lawyers, and doctors didn’t always live so far apart from teachers, accountants, and small business owners, who themselves weren’t always so segregated from the poorest, most struggling Americans.

Nobody should talk about an “economic recovery” until the middle class starts growing again.

Even as the stock market has soared to unprecedented heights over the past year, the decline of middle class America has continued unabated.

And most Americans know deep inside that something is deeply broken. For example, a recent CNBC All-America Economic Survey found that over 80 percent of all Americans consider the economy to be “fair” or “poor”.

Yes, for the moment things are going quite well for the top 10 percent of the nation, but that won’t last long either. None of the problems that caused the last great financial crisis have been fixed. In fact, they have gotten even worse. We are steamrolling toward another great financial crisis and our leaders are absolutely clueless.

When the next crisis strikes, the economic suffering in this nation is going to get even worse.

As bad as things are now, they are not even worth comparing to what is coming.

So I hope that you are getting prepared. Time is running out.


Is it time for Jews to walk away from universities?

Given the alarming spike in campus anti-Semitism, maybe it’s time the Jewish community in the US built its own higher education system.

By  Abraham H. Miller Published on 24July2020

[JerusalemCats Comments: Yes, it is time for Jews to walk away from universities in the Diaspora and attend Israeli Universities in Israel, as Israelis. It is time for Aliyah!! (Immigration to Israel)]

Nefesh B'Nefesh: Live the Dream US & CAN 1-866-4-ALIYAH | UK 020-8150-6690 or 0800-085-2105 | Israel 02-659-5800

Nefesh B’Nefesh: Live the Dream US & CAN 1-866-4-ALIYAH | UK 020-8150-6690 or 0800-085-2105 | Israel 02-659-5800

In response to an alarming spike in campus anti-Semitism, the Jewish community is debating whether it should walk away from colleges and universities that once restricted its children with quotas and now openly permits their harassment.

You can talk about systemic and structural racism, but on American campuses, African Americans and other select minorities have powerful advocates for their causes.

Whether through the office of residence life or that of the dean of diversity and inclusion, the slightest hint that the campus environment is unwelcoming in any way to certain minorities will be met with the strongest possible response, even to the point of shredding traditions of free speech or academic freedom in the process.

The very notion of an unwelcoming environment mobilizes the campus bureaucracy and large segments of the student community through “intersectionality” to close ranks, denounce the offense and root out the offenders.

Contrast that with the environment Jewish students face. They receive eviction notices under their doors. They must put up with the phony and vile accusations during “Israel Apartheid Week” that are linked to an upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents, including violence. They can be told, as they are at San Francisco State University, that they are not welcome if they are Zionists.

Intimidation – The Aftermath of the National SJP Conference


They can be accused of having undue influence, as a Muslim faculty member at University of California, Berkeley rattles off a list of buildings named after Jewish donors, as if there is something sordid in Jewish donations, while ignoring that Middle East studies departments are flush with foreign money. They must endure endless attempts within student governments to get the institution to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel, known as BDS, that even if affirmed will never be lawfully implemented, knowing that the function of such is to demonize Israel and Jews.

Few administrators speak for them. No part of the intersectionality community will come to their defense. The campus bureaucracy doesn’t care if they feel welcome. In fact, a complaint to the dean of diversity and inclusion will often result in a lecture telling them they are responsible of their own harassment.

Courses in Middle East politics are all too frequently taught by Palestinian sympathizers who use the classroom to stir up anti-Semitism by demonizing Israel and Jews.

So, is it time for Jews to leave the university? It isn’t a new question. Some 30 years ago, fundamentalist Christians and conservatives began asking themselves the same question. We might talk about diversity but finding a fundamentalist Christian or political conservative in a faculty position in a major university is a rarity. The environment actively discourages them.

There is no such thing as intellectual diversity, especially in the current climate of groupthink.

A university no longer needs classrooms, dormitories, bars, recreation facilities and athletic teams. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, distance learning was on the ascent.

The British in the 19th century created college learning through correspondence for the overseas bureaucracy. Now the BBC‘s partner, the Open University, awards degrees to the doctoral level through online learning.

There will always be elite schools with exalted reputations that will draw in-residence students, but most second-tier colleges and universities are hardly worth the outrageous tuition, oppressive debt, or mindless indoctrination in political correctness and anti-Semitism. They will be replaced by the Internet.

So, let Jews use their contributions, building funds, and endowments to create their own universities of whatever model or models they deem appropriate.

Learning is second nature to us. We are not only the People of the Book, but the people who love books.

Given structural and systemic anti-Semitism on campus, any Jewish parents who send their children to a secular Jewish college or university should be given a tax credit, both federal and state, for being constructively unable to use the pubic education system because of systemic anti-Semitism.


The system, in general, does not want our children, and much of it is going to collapse anyway. It is only a matter of time before the bricks and mortar of many universities are replaced by the Internet.

We should get ahead of the curve by the judicious use of technology and financing to build our own system.

Comments from Israel Hayom: GreenBasketball 24July2020

I taught at Princeton and Yale. Back in the sixties, it was still OK, and many of the top
people in the exact sciences were Jewish. The new trends bring back the universities to the Dark Ages. The Jews in the West could use their money on a high standard education system for the Jewish communities, from cradle to PhD and top research.
Why not? They do not have to spend on defense, government, etc , like Israel, and their taxes are much lower than Israel’s taxes. Yet the Israelis pay with their taxes for (almost) free education. and have top universities and many top scientists. HU started in 1925 with a minuscule Jewish population. Rather than building hospitals (like Mount Sanai, etc ) and huge facilities on campuses where Jews are harassed and debased and terrorized into silence, and anti-semites of all varieties are glorified, all potential Jewish donors should donate for the above educational system. There could be an special tax as well, if this is legal. Why not?


Move to Israel, Get a Free Degree


America The Illiterate

by Tyler Durden  08September2016

Authored by Chris Hedges in Nov 2008, via,

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation’s population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.

The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless.  They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.

Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichés, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.

The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope  or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.

The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates, George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates, Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today’s political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century. Today the most famous “person” is Mickey Mouse.

In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that “Hamlet” can be as entertaining as “The Lion King” and perhaps as educational. “Culture,” she wrote, “is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment.”

“There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect,” Arendt wrote, “but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.”

The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.

As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers—our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues—who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.



As On-Campus Denial of Anti-Zionism as Anti-Semitism Surges, So Do Attacks on Jewish Students

By Jewish Press News Desk 16 Tammuz 5780 – July 7, 2020

AMCHA Initiative today released its annual report, Understanding Campus Anti-Semitism in 2019 And Its Lessons for Pandemic and Post-Pandemic U.S. Campuses, [Click to download PDF file Click to download the report:Antisemitism-Report-2019 ]  which documents a more than 300% increase in campus activity intended to undermine and discredit the global acceptance of anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism. And this increased activity was accompanied by an increase in anti-Semitism, specifically incidents targeting Jewish students for harm, on campuses that hosted those challenges.

The researchers also found that Israel-related anti-Semitism is easily adaptable to the distance learning platforms that will likely play a large role in the college experience during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and they unveiled a new approach to protecting Jewish students on physical or virtual campuses.



Specifically, the researchers found that expression challenging the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition’s identification of anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism increased 3.7 times from 34 incidents in 2018 to 126 incidents in 2019. The definition is used by 18 countries across the globe, including the U.S. In addition, researchers found that schools where these challenges occurred were more than twice as likely to host anti-Semitic incidents targeting Jewish students for harm, and the more challenges the higher the number of incidents.

Ninety-four percent of these challenges came from anti-Zionist student groups, chief among them Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a very small but vocal minority of Jews that identify themselves as anti-Zionist, and faculty members who support and promote an academic boycott of Israel. In fact, JVP’s campus activity increased 45% in 2019, much of the activity involving challenges to the definition of anti-Semitism.

The study also found that Israel-related anti-Semitic harassment is far more likely than classical anti-Semitic harassment to occur online or be adaptable to the online platforms that will be utilized in 2020/2021 for COVID-19-related distance learning.

The researchers suggested that the dramatic and alarming uptick in challenges to the definition of anti-Semitism is likely a response to recent federal, state and student efforts, as well as the Trump Administration’s recent executive order, to get government agencies and universities to use the IHRA definition to ensure that Jewish students are adequately protected from anti-Semitic harassment under anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and university harassment policies based on them. Although Jewish students have been considered a protected minority under Title VI for several years, their complaints of Israel-related harassment have regularly been dismissed by the Department of Education and ignored by university administrators. It was therefore hoped that use of the IHRA definition would allow government officials and university administrators to recognize and adequately address Israel-related harassment as anti-Semitism.

The researchers point out, however, that “as challenges to the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism have led to increased harassment of Jewish students, they have also undermined efforts to ensure that Jewish students are adequately protected from that harassment. The challengers’ principle argument – that the IHRA definition ‘falsely’ identifies anti-Zionist speech as anti-Semitic, and if adopted, would have a chilling effect on freedom of speech and subvert academic freedom – has made some university and government officials reticent to use the definition in adjudicating cases of harassment.”

“Given the extent of such pushback and its linkage to acts of anti-Zionist motivated harassment, it remains unclear how effective efforts to address Israel-related anti-Semitism using the IHRA definition and civil rights law will ultimately be,” cautioned the researchers. Instead they offered “an alternative approach to protecting Jewish students that does not depend on how one defines anti-Semitism or understands Jewish identity. As a result, it effectively neutralizes challenges to the IHRA definition from anti-Zionist individuals and groups that have impeded fair and adequate administrative responses to anti-Jewish harassment. Instead of seeking protection for individual Jewish students from their membership in a federally-protected identity group, our approach seeks protection for Jewish students as individuals, with the same rights as all other individuals, to be free from behaviors that seek to suppress or deny their self-expression, including expressions of belief and group identity.”

The new approach is rooted in protections provided to all students by the First Amendment, and it calls on colleges and universities to take a number of steps to combat intolerant behavior that suppresses student expression, including: (1) view intolerant behavior, including anti-Semitic harassment, as a major threat to students’ right to freedom of expression; (2) consider intolerant behavior to be actionable when it infringes to an unacceptable degree on the freedom of expression of others; (3) establish robust bullying/cyberbullying policies that protect all students equally from intolerant behavior that suppresses expression or restricts the ability to participate in campus life, irrespective of the motivation of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim; and (4) establish fair and consistent protocols for handling intolerant but constitutionally protected speech.

“In the long term, ensuring that all students are afforded equal protection and equal redress from behaviors that deny their right to self-expression, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator or the identity of the victim, can provide Jewish students with permanent protection from anti-Semitic behavior that has previously been denied to them,” recommended the researchers. They also noted that “in contrast to the current approach of protecting students by virtue of their membership in legally protected groups, which can easily lead to the exacerbation of group difference and an unhealthy competition for group rights, the proposed approach offers the possibility of a healthier campus climate.”

The study also revealed that, different from what has been documented globally, campuses, for the second year in a row, have experienced a significant decline in incidents of classic anti-Semitic harassment (down 49%) and a significant increase in Israel-related incidents (up 60%). In addition, promotion of academic BDS, including attempts to restrict or shut down popular study abroad programs, continued to rise dramatically and was strongly correlated with discrimination against, harassment of and the suppression of speech of Jewish students.

“[T]he current study of anti-Semitic activity in 2019 has shown that Israel-related harassment continues to be the dominant and steadily increasing form of behavior targeting Jewish students for harm and is easily adaptable to the online platforms that are likely to play a major role in the 2020-2021 academic year, and perhaps longer. It is therefore more important than ever that universities consider a new, comprehensive approach to combating all forms of intolerant behavior, including both classical and Israel-related anti-Semitism, and begin taking the necessary steps to ensure that all students are equally protected from action and speech that suppress their self-expression ad deny their full participation in campus life. We believe an approach that holds all students to the same behavioral expectations, and addresses all intolerant action and speech equally, is the best way to protect Jewish students from all forms of campus anti-Semitism,” concluded the researchers in their recommendations.

AMCHA monitors 450 college campuses across the U.S. for anti-Semitic activity. The organization has recorded more than 3,500 anti-Semitic incidents since 2015. Its daily Anti-Semitism Tracker, organized by state and university, can be viewed here.

Commentary Magazine-logo

Commentary Magazine-logo

Explaining Trump’s Executive Order on Anti-Semitism

Read the actual Executive Order:

Combating Anti-Semitism 2019 Executive Order

Click to download PDF file Click to download the PDF file 439372691-Combating-Anti-Semitism-2019-Executive-Order


by Abe Greenwald 11December2019

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today aimed at cracking down on anti-Semitism on college campuses. The order will define Jewish people as a nation or race and thus allow the federal government to withhold money from universities that ignore Jew-hatred.

For those interested in a deeper understanding of the plan, the original idea behind it was laid out in the September 2010 issue of COMMENTARY by Kenneth L. Marcus, who now serves as the assistant secretary of civil rights in the Trump Education Department. Marcus’s essay, “A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism?” explains:

The lack of a coherent legal conception of Jewish identity has rendered the Office for Civil Rights (henceforth, OCR) unable to cope with a resurgence of anti–Semitic incidents on American college campuses, of which the Irvine situation is enragingly emblematic. The problem stems from the fact that federal agents have jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act over race and national-origin discrimination—but not over religion. And because they have been unable to determine whether Jewish Americans constitute a race or a national-origin group, they found themselves unable to address the anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine. This confusion has led to enforcement paralysis as well as explosive confrontations and recriminations within the agency.

See below article to read it in its entirety.

Commentary Magazine-logo

Commentary Magazine-logo

A Blind Eye to Campus Anti-Semitism?

Kenneth L. Marcus is the former head of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

This essay is…

During the first years of the 21st century, the virus of anti-Semitism was unleashed with a vengeance in Irvine, California. There, on the campus of the University of California at Irvine, Jewish students were physically and verbally harassed, threatened, shoved, stalked, and targeted by rock-throwing groups and individuals. Jewish property was defaced with swastikas, and a Holocaust memorial was vandalized. Signs were posted on campus showing a Star of David dripping with blood. Jews were chastised for arrogance by public speakers whose appearance at the institution was subsidized by the university. They were called “dirty Jew” and “fucking Jew,” told to “go back to Russia” and “burn in hell,” and heard other students and visitors to the campus urge one another to “slaughter the Jews.” One Jewish student who wore a pin bearing the flags of the United States and Israel was told to “take off that pin or we’ll beat your ass.” Another was told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind” and “Jews should be finished off in the ovens.”


When complaints were lodged over these incidents, which took place in 2003 and 2004, the university responded either with relative indifference or with little urgency. But when the federal government was asked in 2004 to intervene to deal with incidents that its own investigators had determined to be clear-cut violations of the civil rights of Irvine’s Jewish students, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights failed to prosecute a single case. Indeed, it has finally become clear that the current policy of the office charged with enforcing civil rights at American universities involves treating anti-Jewish bias as being unworthy of attention—a state of affairs in stark contrast to the agency’s quite justified alacrity in responding to virtually every other possible case of discrimination. While one cannot identify the motive for this astonishing double standard with complete certainty, the justification for it involves an unwillingness to treat Jews as a distinct group beyond considerations of  religious adherence.


Faced with the demand to address anti-Semitic actions verified by its own investigators, the federal government passed on prosecution because it was unable to define the group that was the victim of the assault. Washington found itself unable to answer the question “Who is a Jew?”


The lack of a coherent legal conception of Jewish identity has rendered the Office for Civil Rights (henceforth, OCR) unable to cope with a resurgence of anti–Semitic incidents on American college campuses, of which the Irvine situation is enragingly emblematic. The problem stems from the fact that federal agents have jurisdiction under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act over race and national-origin discrimination—but not over religion. And because they have been unable to determine whether Jewish Americans constitute a race or a national-origin group, they found themselves unable to address the anti-Semitism at UC-Irvine. This confusion has led to enforcement paralysis as well as explosive confrontations and recriminations within the agency.


In Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964, Congress prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in federally funded universities and public schools. Over the years, other statutes have expanded the list of suspect classifications to include sex, age, disability, and even membership in the Boy Scouts and other patriotic youth groups. Yet adhering closely to its congressional mandate, OCR has generally declined to pursue anti-Semitism allegations, because none of the pertinent statutes mentions religion. Over the years, there have been suggestions that OCR should ban anti-Semitism under its race and national-origin jurisdiction, but OCR has been reluctant to suggest that Jews are members of a biologically or nationally distinct group. One can acquire Jewish identity by a process of conversion, and it was, after all, Adolf Hitler who insisted that “Jewry is without question a race and not a religious community” before he began his program of mass murder.


Yet even though being a Jew is not strictly a matter of ancestry, it is a group identity that involves more than adherence to a particular faith. Indeed, the idea that Judaism is nothing more than a religion in which Americans are merely practitioners of a “Mosaic” or “Hebrew” creed—a point of view once advocated by the founders of the Reform movement of Judaism—is now widely rejected by virtually every denomination of Judaism. In 2004, when I ran OCR during the first term of the George W. Bush administration, the office pledged for the first time to enforce Title VI against those forms of anti-Semitism that are based on Jewish ethnic or ancestral heritage. With that pledge, I conceded that purely religious discrimination is not prohibited under this law. Yet drawing on a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987, we at OCR declared that discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or ancestry was no more permissible against groups that have religious attributes than against groups that do not. That decision—in the case of Shaare Tefila Congregation v. Cobb—held that Jews are a “race” within the meaning of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, because Congress had, at the time of the 1866 Act’s passage, considered Jews a racial group. My argument was that the 1866 Act and the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be read together, because the latter statute was intended in part to fulfill the mandate of the former. This policy was largely disregarded, however, during the second George W. Bush administration and has also been disregarded during the Obama administration.


This failure to enforce the law is illustrated by the government’s refusal to respond to the situation at Irvine. In a lengthy, detailed, and disturbing 2004 complaint filed with OCR against UC-Irvine, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) charged that the school fostered a hostile environment for Jewish students in violation of Title VI. With extraordinary specificity, ZOA detailed the situation Jewish students faced. As ZOA demonstrated, campus speakers were delivering lectures that some Jewish students considered to be anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish, or both. OCR would later observe that many of these speakers were known for using “strong rhetoric” when criticizing the State of Israel and, in some cases, denying Israel’s right to exist. In fact, this “strong rhetoric” included virtually the entire arsenal of traditional anti-Semitic propaganda: Holocaust inversion, racial hatred, ethnic stereotypes, conspiracy theories, physical intimidation, and even the medieval blood libel.


As the case proceeded before OCR, ZOA argued that one frequent Irvine speaker, Amir Abdel Malik Ali of the Masjid Al-Islam mosque in Oakland, California, used Irvine’s podiums to advance many of the most potent anti-Semitic stereotypes. In February 2005, Malik Ali argued, “This ideology of Zionism is so racist, so arrogant, based so much on ignorance.” Invited to return the following year, he called Jews “the new Nazis … they’re saying … when you see an Israeli flag next to an American flag, they’re saying we’re with imperialism. We are down with colonialism. We are down with white supremacy.” He warned Jewish students, “You settle on stolen land, you got to deal with the consequences.” More bluntly, he threatened that “now it’s time for you to live in some fear … because you were so good at dispensing fear. You were so good at making people think that y’all was all that and the Islamic tide started coming up.” He railed against “liars. Straight up liars, Rupert Murdoch, Zionist Jews.” He used the conspiracy stereotype to anticipate and defuse the inevitable anti-Semitism charge: “They say it’s anti-Semitic if you say Jews control the media.” He argued that “anti-Semitism” charges reflect Jewish arrogance and racism: “They have taken the concept of the chosen people and fused it with the concept of white supremacy.” He explained, “Once you take the concept of chosen people with white supremacy and fuse them together, you will get a people who are so arrogant that they will actually make a statement and imply that [they] are the only Semites. That’s arrogance and it’s the same arrogance they display every day and that’s the same type of arrogance that’s getting them into trouble today.” Malik Ali culminated his remarks by invoking the classic blood libel, which Christians used from the Middle Ages onward to justify the indiscriminate killing of Jews: “You all definitely don’t love children and you know why? Because you kill them.”


Irvine’s administration was, ZOA argued, “silent and passive” in the face of these and other incidents. This, for example, was ZOA’s view of the administration’s response to a Jewish student who expressed her fears to several Irvine administrators, including its chancellor at the time. The student wrote: “Not only do I feel scared to walk around proudly as a Jewish person on the Irvine campus, I am terrified for anyone to find out. Today I felt threatened that if students knew that I am Jewish and that I support a Jewish state, I would be attacked physically.” ZOA claimed that the school’s then-chancellor, Ralph J. Cicerone, never responded to the student’s letter. The student-services administrator who did respond, Thomas Parham, allegedly recommended that the student seek professional counseling. Irvine’s administration vigorously defended not only the right but also the value of anti-Semitic hate speech. Vice Chancellor Miguel Gomez, for example, allegedly insisted that “one person’s hate speech is another person’s education.”


Yet after investigating the Irvinecase for more than three years, OCR dismissed the ZOA complaint on November 30, 2007, on grounds of timeliness, the adequacy of Irvine’s response, and failure to provide sufficient factual information to proceed. In reply, Irvine officials proclaimed that their institution had been fully exonerated. Irvine’s much-heralded law-school dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, insisted that the “Office for Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education did a thorough investigation and concluded that there was no basis for finding that there was a hostile or intimidating environment for Jewish students on campus at the University of California, Irvine.”


It should have been clear to Chemerinsky that he was, at the least, overstating his case. In fact, OCR had dismissed several of ZOA’s claims on merely technical grounds, some claims have still not been resolved, and those that OCR did resolve are still under appeal. But the most important thing that Chemerinsky and his colleagues did not say (and what the public did not know until now) was that career OCR officials in California had reached the opposite conclusion but were overruled by political appointees in Washington.


What follows is the hidden history of OCR’s Irvine investigation, which has come to light largely through the testimony of OCR officials, not in the Irvine case, but in an employment discrimination case that OCR’s California regional director, Arthur Zeidman, subsequently brought against the agency.



According to OCR’s western regional leadership, the office’s top Washington appointees at the time—Deputy Assistant Secretary David Black and Assistant Secretary Stephanie Monroe—were disinclined to protect Jewish students from anti-Semitism but were also reluctant to make their position clear. Paul Grossman, OCR’s regional counsel, complained after the fact in a deposition taken in the Zeidman case that “it was pathetic to try to reach a legally sound conclusion to the Irvine investigation without headquarters guidance on the scope of our national origin jurisdiction but that, originally, is what our office was told to do.”


So the western regional leaders muddled through under Arthur Zeidman’s command, trying to read what tea leaves Washington might provide on the case. In December 2005, just a year and change after the original case was filed, Zeidman sent his final report to Washington. OCR’s San Francisco office had determined that “the totality of the circumstances at UC-Irvine constituted a hostile environment based on national origin.”


This report by the regional staff concluded that ZOA was right that Irvine students faced levels of discrimination that were so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive as to limit their educational opportunities. Indeed, OCR career officials actually had drafted, revised, and prepared in final form a letter to Irvine informing campus leadership of their findings. Zeidman, however, was not yet prepared to find Irvine in full violation of Title VI. Reviewing the actions that Irvine had taken to address the campus climate, he determined that it had made sufficient amends: “UC-Irvine took adequate steps to address the hostile environment, and was therefore in compliance with Title VI.” In other words, Zeidman split the difference: the Irvine campus would be revealed as a hotbed of anti-Semitism, but its senior administrators would be acquitted based on the actions they had taken.


David Black’s position on the Irvine case was quite simple: “The allegations in the UC-Irvine case were religious discrimination” and were therefore outside the scope of his office’s responsibilities because “OCR doesn’t have jurisdiction over religion.” He would have preferred to send the case to the Justice Department, if Justice would take it. Stephanie Monroe, who outranked Black, indicated that she wanted OCR to handle the matter itself rather than ship it off to another agency. Juggling this political hot potato, Black told Zeidman that the investigation was incomplete and sent him back to reinvestigate. Black wanted more careful scrutiny of certain technical issues—and also insisted, oddly, that Zeidman’s staff “investigate whether Jewish students were Americans or of Israeli origin.”


OCR headquarters did not act on Zeidman’s proposed resolution until August 2006, when ZOA’s Susan Tuchman complained to Monroe that OCR had still not interviewed a single Irvine administrator. “This is deeply disturbing,” Tuchman admonished, “and raises questions about how vigorously OCR is investigating the ZOA’s complaint.” In the course of a subsequent employment investigation, Sandra Battle, who was Zeidman’s supervisor, claimed that she and other senior OCR officials were very upset to read in Tuchman’s letter about how cursory Zeidman’s investigation had been. In fact, it appears that their real problem was not so much with the brevity of Zeidman’s investigation as it was with the nature of his conclusions.  Black “was very blunt with me,” Zeidman recalls, “and ever so critical.” In Zeidman’s view, the hostile environment at Irvine had been fully established without need for further investigation because the facts spoke so clearly for themselves. Perhaps, he speculated, Black was simply delaying the process because he could think of no better way to avoid resolving the case in ZOA’s favor, given just how badly things had gotten at Irvine. When Zeidman defended his staff’s handling of the Irvine case, Black decided to rate Zeidman’s performance for the year as “minimally successful”—the first such negative rating Zeidman had received in his long career.


Despite their concerns, headquarters staff prepared a letter for Monroe’s signature, assuring Tuchman that its complaint “is being investigated in a rigorous and complete manner.” The letter did not acknowledge that the case had been dormant between December 2005 and July 2006. Nor did Monroe inform Tuchman that Black had been expressing precisely the opposite view in his disparagement of Zeidman. Most important, Monroe gave Tuchman no indication that her career staff had determined that Tuchman was right—and that, despite this, Monroe and her political appointees were in the process of overruling them. For his part,Zeidman argues that Washington officials were attempting “to coerce me to find a way to close the Irvinecase on a misinterpretation of the law or on an unjustified technicality.”


In June 2007, under congressional pressure, Black sent four respected OCR lawyers to wrest control of the case from Zeidman. The most senior of the four, Randy Wills, does not recall Black’s expressing dissatisfaction with the thoroughness of San Francisco’s investigation. Black emphasized to Wills, however, that he was not pleased with the San Francisco office’s conclusions. Specifically, Wills recalls, Black “was not pleased with the determination that some of these incidents, anti-Semitic incidents, allegedly perpetrated against Jewish students who were born in America constituted national origin discrimination, such that they would be subject to our jurisdiction.” Clearly, then, this new legal team understood it was being tasked with reaching different conclusions, one way or another, despite the original investigators’ findings.


Paul Grossman, who works as chief counsel in the San Francisco office of OCR, has argued that the Washington home base’s difficulty with the Irvine case arose from an unresolvable conflict: officials had determined that they should not intervene to protect the Jewish students, for complex reasons, but that they did not want this position known, for obvious reasons.


Zeidman came to the conclusion that OCR’s political leadership intended to establish, in his words, “some notion that Jewish Americans were not protected under Title [VI], but Jews of Israeli origin were.” According to this interpretation, the law protected Jews from Israel who were subjected to the abuse that had become routine at UC-Irvine, but it did not protect American Jews.


In the end, OCR’s final closure letter, which was signed by Charlie Love, Zeidman’s top deputy, and seconded by the regional director acting under instructions from Washington, featured a finding that was 180 degrees from the conclusions the two men and others at OCR had actually reached. Love announced that “although offensive to the Jewish students, the . . . events at issue were not based on the national origin of the Jewish students, but rather based on opposition to the policies of Israel.” For this reason, Love concluded, “these incidents, therefore, were not within OCR’s subject matter jurisdiction.”


Beyond ignoring its own publicly stated policies and Supreme Court precedent—and aside from the questionable practices surrounding the entire investigation—OCR’s Irvine approach misunderstands Jewish identity. OCR’s current assumption that Jews are only adherents of a faith tradition fails to appreciate that Jews share not only religion but also bonds of ancestry and ethnicity.


The use of an anti-racism provision to protect Jewish Americans from discrimination inevitably raises sensitivities about whether Jews can be considered a distinct “race.” Most commentators have long agreed that the weight of contemporary science rejects not only the notion that Jews are a racial group but also the entire racial concept, except as a means of describing social constructions. However, the decision to use provisions of the law that were designed to combat racism to also defend citizens against anti-Semitism is both legal and necessary because both varieties of hate are founded on irrational or inaccurate group identifications.  The modern understanding of anti-discrimination provisions, following the Supreme Court’s 1987 Shaare Tefila decision, asks only whether Jews share ethnic or ancestral ties, not whether they are biologically or nationally distinct.


The Irvine case continues to shape discussions and perceptions of campus anti-Semitism. The events there have had an enormous impact on many of the students. Surprisingly, the person who has most vehemently decried anti-Semitism in that case is the man who was charged with investigating it: Arthur Zeidman. Zeidman believes, moreover, that a defining feature of that case was deeply entrenched anti-Semitism, not only at Irvine, but also at OCR. In a formal complaint, Zeidman has charged—and both Love and Grossman have agreed—that the agency responsible for protecting students from bigotry is guilty of the very evil it was established to combat.


An administrative-law judge recently dismissed Zeidman’s complaint against OCR. Nonetheless, it is remarkable that the senior OCR officials who worked most closely on the Irvine case could devise no better explanation for OCR’s handling of this case than anti-Semitism within the highest levels of the civil-rights agency (an accusation that Black and others understandably deny). Paul Grossman, for example, testified in the subsequent employment litigation that “the most likely reason” for Zeidman’s troubles with his Washington superiors “is that Mr. Zeidman is Jewish.” Charlie Love testified that anyone who denies that Zeidman’s Jewish identity was a factor in the manner in which headquarters treated him “was lying.” Whether they are right or not, the suspicions of OCR’s western regional leadership speak volumes about the mishandling of the Irvine case.


The Obama administration’s OCR chief, Assistant Secretary Russlynn Ali, has described her position on Title VI and anti-Semitism in terms that echo the unsatisfying view expressed in the letter sent by Stephanie Monroe to ZOA. “It has long been OCR’s policy,” she wrote in a letter to a member of Congress last year, “that Title VI does not cover discrimination based solely on religion, including anti-Semitic harassment, intimidation, and discrimination.” In this way, Ali lumps “anti-Semitic harassment” in with other forms of nonactionable religious discrimination. Her only public concession thus far has been that “when cases include allegations of race, color, or national origin discrimination in addition to religious discrimination, OCR would have jurisdiction over the portion of the complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.” In other words, anti-Semitism is not enough. OCR will support Jewish students, under Ali’s apparent interpretation, only if they are also victimized by other forms of discrimination, as might happen for instance to Israeli Jews, black Jews, or Hispanic Jews.


The government’s failure to address the outrages at Irvine has created a significant anomaly in the law, one in which Jews are treated differently from virtually any other group. African-Americans, Arabs, Hispanics, women, older students, and even Boy Scouts who charge their schools with discrimination can have their cases investigated by the federal government.


Coincidentally, Obama’s secretary of education, Arne Duncan, recently announced in a major address that his department would significantly step up enforcement of civil-rights laws. Meanwhile, the Irvinecase remains under appeal at the Office for Civil Rights, which is directly in his purview. The outcome of this case will determine the credibility of Duncan’s pledge.


U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

The Department of State has used a working definition, along with examples, of anti-Semitism since 2010 ( On May 26, 2016, the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, adopted a non-legally binding “working definition” of anti-Semitism at its plenary in Bucharest. This definition is consistent with and builds upon the information contained in the 2010 State Department definition. As a member of IHRA, the United States now uses this working definition and has encouraged other governments and international organizations to use it as well.<

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance logo

The IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism

About the IHRA non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism

The IHRA is the only intergovernmental organization mandated to focus solely on Holocaust-related issues, so with evidence that the scourge of antisemitism is once again on the rise, we resolved to take a leading role in combatting it. IHRA experts determined that in order to begin to address the problem of antisemitism, there must be clarity about what antisemitism is.

The IHRA’s Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial worked to build international consensus around a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism, which was subsequently adopted by the Plenary. By doing so, the IHRA set an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and provided an important tool with practical applicability for its Member Countries. This is just one illustration of how the IHRA has equipped policymakers to address this rise in hate and discrimination at their national level.

The working definition of antisemitism

In the spirit of the Stockholm Declaration that states: “With humanity still scarred by …antisemitism and xenophobia the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils” the committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial called the IHRA Plenary in Budapest 2015 to adopt the following working definition of antisemitism.

On 26 May 2016, the Plenary in Bucharest decided to:

Adopt the following non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

To guide IHRA in its work, the following examples may serve as illustrations:

Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.

Contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust).
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).

Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property – such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries – are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.

Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.

Information on adoption and endorsement

National level

The following UN member states have adopted or endorsed the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. Beyond the countries listed below, a wide range of other political entities, including a large number of regional/state and local governments, have done so as well.

Albania (22 October 2020)

Argentina (4 June 2020)

Austria (25 April 2017)

Belgium (14 December 2018)

Bulgaria (18 October 2017)

Canada (27 June 2019)

Cyprus (18 December 2019)

Czech Republic (25 January 2019)

France (3 December 2019)

Germany (20 September 2017)

Greece (8 November 2019)

Guatemala (27 January 2021)

Hungary (18 February 2019)

Israel (22 January 2017)

Italy (17 January 2020)

Lithuania (24 January 2018)

Luxembourg (10 July 2019)

Moldova (18 January 2019)

Netherlands (27 November 2018)

North Macedonia (6 March 2018)

Romania (25 May 2017)

Serbia (26 February 2020)

Slovakia (28 November 2018)

Slovenia (20 December 2018)

Spain (22 July 2020)

Sweden (21 January 2020)

United Kingdom (12 December 2016)

United States (11 December 2019)

Uruguay (27 January 2020)


The following international organizations have expressed support for the working definition of antisemitism:

United Nations

European Union

Organization of American States

Council of Europe



Strategic Affairs Ministry: Campus anti-Semitism increasingly ‘related to Israel’

More and more Jewish students report being targeted by pro-Palestinian activists because of their support for Israel.

by  Ariel Kahana Published on 25December2019

According to information collected by the ministry, in recent months more and more Jewish college students have reported coming under attack by anti-Semitic and pro-Palestinian entities on campus because they did not revoke their support of Israel.

A report from the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which has taken the reins in the battle against BDS, states that “A situation of ‘guilt by association’ has been created for any Jewish student who is seen as a supporter of Israel – and therefore deserving of being exiled.”

Blake Flayton, a student at George Washington University, wrote in The New York Times about his friends attacking him for expressing solidarity with Israel.

“I am a young, gay, left-wing Jew. Yet I am called an ‘apartheid-enabler’ and a ‘baby killer’ because I’m a Zionist and support Israel,” he recounted.

Similar stories are flooding in from other colleges and universities across the US.

‘Rather than campuses serving as a safe learning environment, they have become a silencer mechanism that prevents Jewish students from voicing their support for Israel’

“This is the start of a trend, especially on progressive campuses. However, it’s not everywhere,” the Strategic Affairs Ministry reported.

According to the data available, 2019 saw an improvement in how the US federal government was confronting anti-Semitism on campuses. But anti-Israeli groups are adopting a more aggressive approach. According to a study by the AMCHA Initiatives, while there has not been an uptick in the number of anti-Semitic incidents on US college campuses, there has been a 70% increase in the number of anti-Semitic campus incidents having to do with Israel.

The Strategic Affairs Ministry said that “BDS activism on campuses has increased, along with the number of anti-Semitic incidents against Jews because of their support for Israel.”

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel Hayom that “rather than campuses serving as a safe learning environment, they have become a silencer mechanism that prevents Jewish students from voicing their support for Israel.”




Report: Anti-Semitism Up 70 Percent on Campuses

Click to Download the .PDF file Eliminationist-Anti-Zionism-and-Academic-BDS-on-Campus-Report

By Solange Reyner    |  18 September 2019



Harassment of students who expressed pro-Israel ideologies at U.S. college campuses increased by a record-high 70% over the last year, according to a new report published Tuesday by the AMCHA Initiative, a watchdog group that investigates and documents anti-Semitism at higher institutions.

In its report, “The Harassment of Jewish Students on U.S. Campuses: How Eliminationist Anti-Zionism and Academic BDS Incite Campus Anti-Semitism,” AMCHA monitored anti-Semitism on more than 400 college campuses.

“Antisemitic acts involving the singling out of Jewish and pro-Israel students and groups for personal vilification more than doubled,” including a 147% increase in incidents of the students being linked to “white supremacy,” per the findings. “Attempts to exclude” Jewish and pro-Israel students “from campus activities more than doubled, with expression calling for the total boycott or exclusion of pro-Israel students from campus life nearly tripling.”

Expression promoting or condoning terrorism against Israel also increased by 67%.

Israel-Related Attacks on Campus

Israel-Related Attacks on Campus

Annual Israel-Related Attacks on Campus

Annual Israel-Related Attacks on Campus

Campuses have seen a rise in displays targeting Jews since the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October 2018.

Last November, a swastika was painted over a mural honoring the victims of a synagogue shooting at Duke University. Swastikas were discovered on the Cornell University campus and on a Jewish teacher’s office at Columbia University in the same month.

Intimidation – The Aftermath of the National SJP Conference


[JerusalemCats Comments: This is my alma mater which has always had a problem with Antisemitisim]


Important win for Jewish students against anti-Zionist discrimination at Cal State and San Fran State

Posted by 31March2019

In settling lawsuit over anti-Zionist disruption and discrimination, universities acknowledge “that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity” and agree to take steps to prevent further discrimination.

San Francisco State University Disruption Israel Speech by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat

San Francisco State University Disruption Israel Speech by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat

After years of hostility to Jews and their pro-Israel views at California State University and San Francisco State University, a lawsuit was brought against the board of trustees, faculty, and even the President of the University.

SFSU had been a particular thorn in the side of their Jewish students, more so than other universities around the country. They are rated within the Algemeiner’s  list of campuses that are the “worst” for Jewish students.

The hostilities on campus escalated to instances of actual discrimination against Jewish student groups from campus-wide affairs.

In 2017, for example, the Hillel was disinvited from a campus-wide fair on the basis of their Zionist viewpoint. The purpose of the fair was to inform the students of their rights in light of the 2016 presidential elections.

On more than 12 occasions President Leslie Wong was made aware of the “fear and intimidation faced by Jewish students” and those students had claimed he did not do anything concrete to address the problem.

The hostile environment was accelerated after the the mayor of Jerusalem was invited to campus in 2016. As Mayor Nir Barkat attempted to speak he was interrupted by protesters who were purposefully chanting so he could not continue the talk.

Antisemitic protesters crash Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat speech at San Francisco State University 06April2016

An internal investigation showed that students yelled “Get the fuck off our campus” and chanted “Long live the intifada! Intifada, intifada!”

The anti-Israel disrupters were not kicked out by security despite the fact that the attendees felt unsafe by their demonstration. The students set up a small enclave at the far end of the room with the Mayor to continue the talk.

The anti-Israel students continued their hostilities by “staring down” the Jewish students who attended the Barakat event when they encountered them on campus. These stare downs made these students apprehensive and uncomfortable.

Afterwards Jews expressed their fears to the President about wearing stars of David “or otherwise outwardly identifying as Jews on campus.”

They raised these concerns to the University over a dozen times in 2 years with no demonstrable results.

College of Ethnic Studies (COES), a school at SFSU, was one of the driving forces of anti-Zionism on campus. Their stated goal is to educate students on intersectionality and social justice issues.

When a Jewish student, Michaela Gershon, took a class from the COES she was harassed by her professor for the entire semester for her pro-Israel views. At one point she was told by the Professor to join anti-Zionist groups.

The student felt uncomfortable but had to continue attending classes in order to maintain her good grades. She became increasingly “uncomfortable, nervous, and upset because of her treatment by her professor.” That would be the last class she would take in the COES department.

Over the course of two years dealt with the pervasively hostile environment with nothing concrete being done on their behalf, a lawsuit was brought by the Lawfare Project, a global network of legal professionals who defend the civil and human rights of the Jewish people and pro-Israel community, and Winston & Strawn LLP.

Overall the plaintiffs, who consisted of Jewish students on the campus, had argued that administrators failed to take effective action to combat the “pervasively hostile environment” against Jewish students.

The case was originally dismissed. Judge William H. Orrick ruled that the “allegations were insufficient to support their claims” and he dismissed the case.

The order dismissing the case describe in detail the complaints of the Jewish students (the plaintiffs) against CSU and SFSU faculty and administrators (the defendants). The Judge concluded that despite the seriousness of the allegations, “the acts described…. do not adequately allege a violation of federal anti-discrimination laws (Title VI) so that liability may be imposed.”

The plaintiffs had originally asked for the following solutions: enforcement of free speech, training on anti-Semitism, official apologies for the exclusion of Hillel from the fair, support from the president that Zionists are welcome on campus, continuing meetings with members of the Jewish community on campus.

The plaintiffs appealed Judge Orrick’s decision to dismiss the suit. However, before the was heard, it was settled. The Lawfare Project, which represented the plaintiffs along with a private law firm, issued a press release regarding the settlement.

The Lawfare Project and Winston & Strawn LLP today reached a landmark settlement in their lawsuits against the California State University (CSU) public university system.

The settlement in Volk v. Board of Trustees comes ahead of this month’s scheduled trial for a lawsuit brought by two Jewish students who allege that San Francisco State University (SFSU) and the Board of Trustees of CSU discriminated against them.

As part of the settlement, SFSU agreed to:

  • Public statement: Issue a statement affirming that
    “it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity”;
  • Coordinator of Jewish Student Life: “Hire a Coordinator of Jewish Student Life within the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion” and dedicate suitable office space for this position;
  • External review of policies: “Retain an independent, external consultant to assess SFSU’s procedures for enforcement of applicable CSU system-wide anti-discrimination policies and student code of conduct”;
  • Independent investigation of additional complaints: “SFSU will, for a period of 24 months, assign all complaints of religious discrimination under either E.O. 1096 or E.O. 1097 to an independent, outside investigator for investigation”;
  • Funding viewpoint diversity: “SFSU will allocate an additional $200,000 to support educational outreach efforts to promote viewpoint diversity (including but not limited to pro-Israel or Zionist viewpoints) and inclusion and equity on the basis of religious identity (including but not limited to Jewish religious identity)”; and
  • Campus mural: Engage in the SFSU process to allocate “space on the SFSU campus for a mural to be installed under the oversight of the Division of Equity & Community Inclusion, paid for by the University, that will be designed by student groups of differing viewpoints on the issues that are the subject of this litigation to be agreed by the parties (including but not limited to Jewish, pro-Israel, and/or Zionist student groups, should such student groups elect to participate in the process).”

The settlement is significant because as part of the settlement SFSU said publically “it understands that, for many Jews, Zionism is an important part of their identity.” Other parts of the settlement included a new policy that outside investigations, not internal ones, will be responsible for reviewing the compliance of the University to its student code of conduct and to their anti-discrimination policy.

“We have ensured that SFSU will put in place important protections for Jewish and Zionist students to prevent continued discrimination. We are confident that this will change the campus climate for the better,” said Brooke Goldstein, Executive Director of The Lawfare Project.

Goldstein also said that the settlement marked a huge win for Jewish students on SFSU and those across the country.

She added, “We have ensured that SFSU will put in place important protections for Jewish and Zionist students to prevent continued discrimination. We are confident that this will change the campus climate for the better.”


Hannah Grossman is a Senior at Brooklyn College. Her writing has appeared in The Daily Caller, The Algemeiner, The Brooklyn Eagle, and elsewhere. This is her first post for Legal Insurrection



San Francisco State refuses to disaffiliate from Facebook page spewing anti-Semitism, groups say

Greg Piper – Associate Editor * 6September2019

‘University faculty are allowed to flagrantly misuse the name and resources of the university’

This spring, Jewish students settled their lawsuit against San Francisco State University that alleged it facilitated and encouraged anti-Semitic harassment against them.

The settlement required several concessions from the California State University campus, from financial payments to the plaintiffs to renewed affirmation to enforce protections for Jewish students under both the law and SFSU policy.

Pro-Israel groups were alarmed to find new statements on a university-affiliated Facebook page that they claim violate state law. While they weren’t involved in the settlement, now they’re accusing SFSU’s president of invalidating their concerns on false premises.

Eighty groups signed a Tuesday letter to CSU Chancellor Timothy White and General Counsel Andrew Jones, asking them to overrule the inaction by SFSU President Lynn Mahoney and remove SFSU’s affiliation from the Facebook page.

The page is maintained by Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, known as AMED, within SFSU’s College of Ethnic Studies. (It misspells “Diasporas.”)

[EDD: Update: Found on Facebook August 11, 2019 AMED Studies at SFSU ]

AMED Studies at SFSU-11August2019 Facebook Page Screenshot

AMED Studies at SFSU-11August2019 Facebook Page Screenshot

Link from Facebook Page The International Campaign to Defend Professor Rabab Abdulhadi condemns Lies, Fabrications and Smears by Fox and Friends and the Lawfare Project



Jewish Students Have Endured Enough

by Melissa Landa 19December2019

Pro-Israel activists face down disruptive protesters at a University of California Irvine event with Reservists on Duty, May 3, 2018. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

Pro-Israel activists face down disruptive protesters at a University of California Irvine event with Reservists on Duty, May 3, 2018. Photo: YouTube screenshot.

The Executive Order that President Donald Trump signed on December 11 provides Jewish students the same protections granted to other minority groups under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. It does so by recognizing that Judaism is more than a religion, and that even non-practicing Jews can be targeted with discriminatory acts based on their identity. The Order also adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism, that includes, “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews” and prohibits “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

The Executive Order was not enacted in a vacuum or as a proactive measure to avoid hypothetical cases of antisemitism. It was signed in response to the relentless harassment of Jewish students on college campuses that is being orchestrated by members of the “progressive” movement. And it was signed to compensate for the apparent inability or unwillingness of most university administrators to intervene.


The harassment of Jewish students on college campuses has been a concerted campaign, carried out by national organizations, enabled by university administrators, and encouraged by a United States congresswoman. And now, with their brazen disregard for murdered Jews, “progressive” leaders from Congress to campus have revealed new and chilling dimensions to their own antisemitism.

My alma mater, Oberlin College, offers a vivid example. In the past three years, academic departments, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), and Students for a Free Palestine at Oberlin have hosted a steady stream of well-known anti-Israel activists who espouse antisemitic rhetoric, including Robin Kelley, Ali Abunimah, Nyle Fort, Eli Valley, and Norman Finkelstein. Despite several requests from Jewish students and from myself to bring Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth L. Marcus to campus to broaden students’ understanding of the complex issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the administration offered no assistance.


The result is a campus which 2017 Oberlin graduate Julia Redden describes as the place “where I suffered my worst experiences with antisemitism.”

Students have been inundated with an anti-Israel agenda on their campuses from “progressive” members of Congress as well as from highly paid “progressive” activists. Earlier this year, Rashida Tlaib exploited the power of her office to voice her support for a Pitzer College faculty proposal to end the college’s semester abroad program to Haifa, and in September, she gave a talk at Tulane University while wearing a keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. According to the student newspaper, The Tulane Hullabaloo, Tlaib “urged the audience to … apply humanism to Palestine where people are dying because of Zionist colonialism.”

The synergy among the sources of campus-based antisemitic rhetoric was further amplified when the United States witnessed the horrifying targeted murders of innocent Jews going about their daily lives in Jersey City. After the murders, Tlaib shared on social media, “This is heartbreaking. White supremacy kills.” Then, after learning that the murderers were people of color, she deleted the tweet and posted a generic condemnation on another Twitter account.

Soon after Tlaib’s shocking behavior, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) followed suit. On December 14, three days after the President’s Executive Order, and four days after the shooting, JVP sent an email to its constituents, which read: “Trump’s executive order will do NOTHING to keep Jewish students safe. It won’t protect against Nazis or Nazi recruitment … and it won’t protect Jewish religious spaces from armed attackers.” Attempting to redirect attention to the murders of praying Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and the Porway Synagogue near San Diego — committed by white men —  JVP ignored the murders that had taken place just days earlier.

Tlaib, JVP, and all the other other “progressives” who have either remained silent or equivocated about the brutal Jersey City murders rely on the myth that antisemitism can only emanate from white supremacists. That myth helps them buffer the antisemitism within the progressive movement as merely the “political” views of “anti-Zionists.” The Jersey City murderers — people of color — make it difficult for them to preserve that myth, and so they choose to remain silent.

By doing so, they have sent a message to Jewish students on campus to do the same, or risk being accused of racism. For many students, especially on small remote campuses like Oberlin, that accusation is a heavy burden to carry.

Given the extraordinary forces that have been bearing down on Jewish students from coast to coast, including undue influence from Congress, vast networks that comprise national organizations, and the remarkable lack of empathy that they have confronted from university administrators, President Trump’s Executive Order is both appropriate and timely.

Jewish students have endured enough.

Melissa Landa, PhD, is the Founding Director of the Alliance for Israel.




New Damning Report Exposes the Dangerous Connection Between BDS Movement and Jew Hatred

By David Lange 17December2019

Click to download PDF file Click to Download the .PDF file The New Anti-Semites

The Zachor Legal Institute and have released a damning new report

The Zachor Legal Institute and have released a damning new report


The Zachor Legal Institute and have released a damning new report that exposes the BDS faux ”civil rights” movement for what it is – a delegitimization campaign with genocidal aims, rather than the human rights movement that it purports to be.

Backed by a staggering 23 Jewish and Christian American non-governmental organizations, this report shows how hate groups on the Left and Right are joining forces, with the backing of designated foreign terror organizations, to inject this movement of intolerance and delegitimization into social justice campaigns, schools, government and society as a whole.

It is a long read but it is a vital resource in understanding exactly what we are dealing with. (I have dealt with some aspects of this phenomenon on this blog, but this report is next level).

Read the entire Report.

And mark my words: the haters are going to be pushing back hard against this report because it exposes them for the world to see.



New Research Study: Faculty Promote Their Anti-Israel Agenda In Classes

Posted by Monday, 13January2020

AMCHA Initiative: “Distorting and blocking the flow of knowledge is a violation of the norms and standards of scholarly inquiry and undermines the university’s academic mission”


Faculty Promote Their Anti-Israel Agenda In Classes

Faculty Promote Their Anti-Israel Agenda In Classes

In the years since our founding, Legal Insurrection has covered anti-Israel activism on our nation’s campuses. Though expressions of anti-Zionism on campus are often the work of radical student groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), behind many such groups and their anti-Israel messaging stands faculty support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

For a recent example, see the latest attempt by a small minority of faculty to pass a BDS resolution at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in American Historical Association Rejects Anti-Israel Resolution for the 4th Time.

Of particular concern are university faculty who use their classrooms as platforms for spreading anti-Israel propaganda.

Now, a new report released January 8th by the Santa Cruz-based AMCHA Initiative “provides the first-ever empirical evidence suggesting that faculty who support the academic BDS movement against Israel are actively promoting that political agenda directly to students in their classrooms.”




Founded by University of California academics Leila Beckwith and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the AMCHA Initiative monitors and combats anti-Jewish activity on hundreds of college campuses across the United States. The organization does excellent work; most recently, Legal Insurrection Foundation signed on to an AMCHA-authored letter expertly analysing and opposing a proposed anti-Israel public school curriculum in California (Legal Insurrection Foundation opposes proposed anti-Israel public school curriculum in California).

AMCHA’s newest report builds on the group’s prior studies, which we have covered in the following posts:

The study, which examined 50 syllabi at 40 public and private American colleges and universities, was undertaken by AMCHA founders Professor Beckwith (Professor Emeritus at UCLA, renowned scientist, researcher, and statistician with a background in psychology and child development) and Professor Rossman-Benjamin (expert on antisemitism and former faculty member in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at the University of California).

You can read the full study here (pdf) or below:

The study’s conclusions are disturbing; it found that:

  • Academic BDS-supporting instructors had an average of 78% of their course readings authored by BDS supporters, whereas non-BDS-supporting instructors had an average of 17% of their course readings authored by BDS supporters.
  • The two groups of instructors showed themselves to be qualitatively distinct from one another with respect to the selection of course readings, with almost no overlap of the groups: all of the academic BDS-supporting instructors had a majority of their readings authored by BDS supporters, whereas only 2 of the 35 syllabi of non-BDS-supporting instructors had a majority of their course readings authored by BDS supporters, and none more than 60%. These data demonstrate that the large quantitative difference between the groups is not just the result of a few outliers, but represents a qualitative difference between these two groups of instructors in terms of how they select course readings.

The stark differences between the average percentage of course readings with pro-BDS authors within the two groups leaves little doubt that instructors who support academic BDS make a calculated choice to heavily weight their course materials with readings authored by BDS supporters. These results, in turn, imply that not only are academic boycotting instructors actively including pro-BDS readings, they are also severely limiting or completely excluding readings that would provide a more balanced picture of Israel.AMCHA Initiative fully acknowledges that freedom of speech protects faculty’s right to sign petitions and make extramural statements in support of academic BDS and academic freedom generally protects their right to develop and teach courses as they see fit. However, the report notes the serious and harmful consequences of faculty bringing their support for academic BDS into the classroom.

Distorting and blocking the flow of knowledge is a violation of the norms and standards of scholarly inquiry and undermines the university’s academic mission. Furthermore, faculty who use their classrooms to give academic legitimacy to a wholly one-sided, anti-Israel perspective, in compliance with the guidelines of academic BDS, can engender among their students hostility not only towards Israel, but towards Israel’s on-campus supporters. Such sentiments can easily lead to acts targeting Jewish and pro-Israel students for harm, as AMCHA’s previous research has shown.

But there are ways universities can combat professor-propaganda if they so choose; helpfully, AMCHA’s report includes concrete action items for university leaders to pursue in order to address these problems:

  • Release public statement on the harm of academic BDS to U.S. students and faculty: University leaders should publicly acknowledge that while an academic boycott of Israel may ostensibly target Israeli universities and scholars, its implementation directly and substantively hurts students and faculty on their own campus, not only subverting their scholarly and educational opportunities and curtailing their academic freedom, but corrupting the entire academic mission of the university. Recently, chancellors and presidents at the University of California, University of Michigan, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Pitzer College issued strong statements acknowledging the harms of academic BDS for students and faculty, and condemning its implementation on their own campuses.

  • Establish policies against using the classroom for political advocacy: Universities should establish and publicly affirm policies that prohibit faculty from using their classrooms for political rather than pedagogical purposes.

  • Urge faculty to establish and enforce safeguards against classroom abuse: Faculty should be urged by university administrators to establish their own safeguards against the politicization of the academy. For example, following the refusal of a faculty member to write a letter of recommendation for a student wishing to study in Israel, a University of Michigan panel, appointed by the president, issued a report and recommendations emphasizing that faculty members must make judgments and act based solely on educational and professional reasons, not political motivations.

Ultimately, AMCHA’s report concludes that

…it is up to academic departments and faculty senates to determine whether the promotion of one-sided, highly politicized course content is deemed a legitimate use of academic freedom, or an abuse of it. However, given the clear and present harm that such politicization can cause to our schools, our students and society, it is time for tuition and taxpayers, as well as state and federal legislators, to demand that faculty address this question forthrightly, and to hold them accountable for their answer.


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