(JTA) — More than half of today’s American Jewish college students have witnessed or experienced an anti-Semitic incident, according to a new study.
Some 54 percent of the participants in the survey released Monday by the Louis D. Brandeis Center and Trinity College said they had experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism within the past academic year. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2014, prior to the outbreak of hostilities last summer in Gaza.
The online survey of 1,157 students, conducted by Trinity College professor Barry Kosmin and associate professor Ariela Keysar, found that the percentages of students reporting encounters with anti-Semitism were relatively consistent across gender, religious outlook and geographical region.
Students who affiliate with the Conservative and Reform movements were more likely to report such experiences than Orthodox students, with 69 percent of Conservative students, 62 percent of Reform students and 52 percent of Orthodox students responding that they had reported anti-Semitic encounters. Those who said they were always open about their Jewishness on campus were about as likely to have encountered anti-Semitism as those who said they were never open about their Jewishness, at 58 percent and 59 percent, respectively.
The data in the report came from the 2014 National Demographic Survey of American Jewish College Students as part of a broader series of questions. The students who took the surveys were volunteers, and the study’s authors found that the students roughly matched the broader demographic outlines of other surveys of Jewish college students. What constituted an anti-Semitic incident was self-defined by the participants.
The findings were broadly consistent with a 2011 survey of college students in the United Kingdom, which found that 51 percent of students reported experiencing or witnessing an anti-Semitic incident.