Brandeis extends transfer deadline, appealing to Jewish students distressed by campus anti-Israel unrest
A sign on the Brandeis University campus with the school’s emblem and motto reads, “Truth even unto its innermost parts.”
(Photo: Wikimedia)

By Philissa Cramer
April 25, 2024

(JTA) — Brandeis University, the historically Jewish school outside Boston, has extended its transfer application deadline in a bid to appeal to students who are unhappy with their own schools’ responses to campus anti-Israel protests.

The university announced the decision on Monday, as encampment protests spread from Columbia University to campuses across the United States. The protests, which take aim at the schools’ ties to Israel, are spurred by the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and have in some places included rhetoric that veers into antisemitism. Jewish groups and some Jewish students say the protests have left Jewish and pro-Israel students unsafe and unable to take part in campus activities.

“As a university founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community to counter antisemitism and quotas on Jewish enrollment in higher education, Brandeis has been committed to protecting the safety of all its students, and, in the current atmosphere, we are proud of the supports we have in place to allow Jewish students to thrive,” Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz wrote in an email to the community. “Due to the current climate on many campuses around the world, we are now expanding the opportunity for students to seek the learning environment of our campus by extending the transfer application deadline to May 31.”

Brandeis made headlines shortly after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which killed 1,200 people and triggered the war, when a portion of its student government failed to pass a resolution condemning Hamas. But the broader student government soon reversed course, and in November, the school became the first to ban its chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, saying that the group “openly supports Hamas” — a departure from other schools that have since suspended the group for technical offenses against protest policies.

About a third of students at Brandeis, which is nonsectarian, identify as Jewish, according to Hillel International.

“Students elsewhere should know we welcome all — Jews and students from every background — who seek an excellent undergraduate education and an environment striving to be free of harassment and Jew-hatred to apply,” Liebowitz wrote.

Leave a Reply