AEN’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative (ICCI) seeks to engage, help to educate, and provide training for senior officials in campus Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), Student Affairs, and related offices about the multifaceted nature of contemporary antisemitism and how it impacts Jewish and Zionist students on campuses today. ICCI aims specifically to connect with mid-level administrators (e.g., Vice Presidents, Deans, Chief Officers) because it is these officials and their staffs, who today play a central role in addressing issues affecting Jewish student life on campus.
We will be collaborating on this initiative with Hillel International, to better leverage each organization’s respective strengths towards our shared goal of improving the campus climate for Jewish and Zionist students. AEN has over 750 faculty members – many with academic expertise in antisemitism, Jewish Studies, Israel Studies, and related disciplines – on over 270 colleges and universities across the country. We also maintain close relationships with high-level administrators at many institutions. Hillel is the primary vehicle for Jewish student life on hundreds of campuses, with proactive professional staff and student leaders, as well as access to administrators and other campus stakeholders. We look forward to working together to share best practices, policy recommendations, and training materials in support of our common goals.
One of the projects that AEN is supporting as a part of ICCI is the Antisemitism Education Initiative, a pilot program at the University of California, Berkeley, which will bring together multiple campus stakeholders to inform about, discuss, and develop the resources to respond to antisemitism. This innovative program, to which we have provided a $25,000 grant, was initiated by AEN Advisory Board member Steven Davidoff Solomon, Professor of Law, Ethan Katz, Professor of History and Jewish Studies, and Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman, Executive Director of Berkeley Hillel, and will feature trainings, expert speakers and panels, and multimedia presentations aimed at students, campus staff, and faculty at UC Berkeley over a two-to-three year period. We hope that the Antisemitism Education Initiative at UC Berkeley will serve as an effective model for other campuses. AEN announced the grant in a press release – the grant received significant media coverage, including in the Daily Californian (UC Berkeley’s campus newspaper), J. Weekly, the Jewish Journal, and the Algemeiner.