CV NEWS FEED // Conservative news site Campus Reform recently highlighted many Catholic universities’ unwavering support of Jewish students in response to the rise of anti-semitism on elite college campuses such as Harvard, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania.
Patrick McDonald wrote on January 25 for Campus Reform about the perspective of Catholic university presidents responding to anti-semitism and the policies they’ve implemented to better support Jewish students. He also highlighted the testimony of a Jewish parent whose daughter has had a positive experience after choosing a Catholic school.
McDonald’s article comes after several Ivy league presidents failed to state whether students who call for the genocide of Jewish people violate their school’s code of conduct. Several of these presidents, such as UPenn president Liz Magill, have since resigned over their failure to address anti-semitism on campus.
Massachusetts-based Assumption University President Greg Weiner wrote in the Wall Street Journal in December “[arguing] that elite schools ‘have largely abandoned their responsibility to form morally circumspect and intellectually curious citizens,’ and have instead fostered an environment of ‘hatred’ on their campuses,” McDonald reported:
Given the failure of elite colleges, Weiner wrote, Catholic universities can fill the void.
Weiner, himself a Jew, wrote that “[t]hose tending the lamp” of quality education “are often Catholic.” He noted that most Catholic universities “aren’t elite by common metrics,” but argued that Catholic institutions “haven’t, by and large, been scenes of raging antisemitism.”
McDonald noted that the Assumption president also praised Catholic universities for “[focusing] on academic problems like ‘enduring questions,’ and confronting ‘challenging books’ and not the ‘politicized mobs.’”
McDonald highlighted a heartfelt response to Weiner’s article by “Matthew Grad, the father of a self-described ‘observant Jewish family’ [who] wrote a letter to The Wall Street Journal.”
Grad shared that “his family sent their daughter to the Catholic Saint Louis University and that she has been ‘delighted’ by the decision,” McDonald wrote:
Grad wrote that the school has accommodated his daughter’s religious beliefs and practices, including by implementing a kosher kitchen for her and other Jews. Grad reported that his daughter has met a number of other Jewish families who made the same decision that his family did, and that “a strong Catholic university may be a better option for Jews than an Ivy League school.”
Additionally, several Catholic universities have updated policies to better support Jewish students interested in transferring to their school.
Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio “[has] been offering scholarships and an expedited transfer process for Jewish students,” McDonald wrote. Since “[last] fall, Franciscan had been working to accommodate Jewish students by providing places of worship and developing kosher food options, all while emphasizing its commitment to fraternity and support for all people.”
Similarly, Ohio-based Walsh University “has amended its policies to grant easier access for Jewish students who may wish to transfer from campuses that have been hostile,” McDonald reported:
[Walsh] President Tim Collins said in a statement in October: “We believe that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our Jewish brothers and sisters seeking a safe haven have a place here on our campus.”
McDonald highlighted that Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, president of Pennsylvania-based St. Francis University, issued a similar statement in support of Jewish communities.
McDonald added that Rabbi Ari Berman, president of Yeshiva University, wrote a letter in support of Israel and Jewish students that the presidents of Salve Regina University, Catholic University of America, and the University of Notre Dame all signed in solidarity.