- Parents of Jewish and Muslim students at the University of Connecticut are worried for the safety of their children in light of the Israel-Hamas war
- Female Muslim students are ditching their hijabs for hoods and one Jewish student has hidden her Star of David necklace
- The growing fear for the safety of college students comes amidst an investigation into seven universities for Islamophobia and antisemitism
Leaders at top universities around the country have been hesitant to step in and intervene despite their students face antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Worried parents are growing increasingly concerned for their children at universities as protests on both sides erupt in the aftermath of Hamas’ horrific act of terror on October 7.
At the University of Connecticut – students belonging to different campus groups for Muslims, pro-Palestinians and Jews have all received worried calls from their parents.
The Hillel center – a Jewish organization – put up posters of kidnapped Israelis, but they mysteriously vanished from the walls overnight – leaving Jewish students feeling unsafe and unsettled.
University of Connecticut students are scared of being identified as Jewish or Muslim as tensions rise amidst the conflict between Israel and Hamas
At the University of Connecticut’s main campus in the rural village of Storrs – students belonging to the Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Hillel center have received worried calls from their parents (pictured: Lena Maarouf – a recent graduate and member of Students for Justice in Palestine group)
The Hillel center – the site of a Jewish campus organization connecting college students globally – put up posters of kidnapped Israelis, but they mysteriously vanished from the walls overnight (pictured: r Yana Tartakovskiy – a Jewish student at the university)
Terrified Jewish students later saw posters pop up that called for the freedom of Palestine ‘by any means necessary’.
Yana Tartakovskiy is a junior at the University of Connecticut – she says she hides her Star of David necklace out of fear of being identified as Jewish on campus, NBC reported.
‘I think that anything that has to do with violence, for me personally, affects me a lot,’ she said. ‘It’s very scary because I feel like words can become actions very quickly, as we’ve seen on other college campuses.’
NYU was faced with a lawsuit from three Jewish students who felt unprotected by their administration after antisemitism on campus escalated to chants of ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Hitler was right’.
Their lawsuit, filed in New York federal court, says the college has been giving ‘mobs of students carte blanche to harass and intimidate NYU’s Jewish population’ through its ‘actions and inactions’ over the past month.
NYU was faced with a lawsuit from three Jewish students who felt unprotected by their administration after antisemitism on campus escalated to chants of ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Hitler was right’ (pictured: NYU staff and students during a walkout and protest in support of Palestine in Manhattan November 9
Meanwhile – Muslim students at UConn also felt fearful on campus. Muslim Student Association President Muneeb Syed said that women are opting for hoodies instead of hijabs if they’re walking around the school alone.
A Muslim woman leaving a pro-Palestinian rally at the university was harassed by a car of men who pulled over to yell at her as she went home.
One of Syed’s female friends told NBC: ‘My parents are definitely worried. They call me, they’re like, “Are you sure you’re safe?” You know, they want to make sure that I go to my dorm at a certain time, just so that I don’t go out and have any risks or potential risks outside.’
Lene Maarouf – a recent graduate from UConn and a member of the Justice in Palestine organization at the college – said she was sent a voicemail from an Oklahoma number that harassed her.
A man with a Southern accent said: ‘Yeah, I belong to the students for the death of all Hamas.
‘You’re supporting baby killers, people who rape grandmas. You’re just another sand n***** terrorist, that’s all you are.
‘So you guys get together so the Mossad can get pictures of you because I can’t wait to see you dead.’
Maarouf was deeply unsettled by the voicemail. She said: ‘It makes you wonder, like, what else are they capable of doing if they’re going out of their way to get your number? And what kind of connections can they have to maybe someone on campus?’
The Department of Education has launched investigations into seven schools for antisemitism and Islamophobia (pictured: Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather for a protest at Columbia University, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in New York)
Even though students on all sides of the divide are fearful and unsettled by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, as well as protests and hateful behavior on U.S. soil – not everyone agrees on how this should be dealt with.
Jewish students at Hillel are eager to create a safe environment through increased security and have even received government funding and DHS support to ensure their wellbeing.
Meanwhile – Maarouf along with other members of Students for Justice in Palestine say they don’t trust DHS to protect them because of the historic profiling of Muslim Americans.
Maarouf told NBC: ‘You have to look at their track record: How have they treated Muslims in the past? Are they really going to believe us? Are they going to listen to our true concerns?’
The University of Connecticut is one of many higher-education establishments navigating their way through the ongoing tensions relating to the Israel-Hamas war.
There are five investigations into antisemitism cases and two for Islamophobia cases at seven different schools.
Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, Columbia University, in New York City, the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia are just some of the universities facing investigations.
The Department of Education have launched the investigations under Title IV – a law the prohibits discrimination based on race or ancestry.