fbpx

Half of AEPi, AEPhi Students Hide Their Jewish Identity on College Campuses, Poll Says

Forty-nine percent of AEPi members and 50% of AEPhi members said they felt like they had to hide their Jewish identities while attending virtual or in-person events on campus. Of those who said they felt like they needed to hide their Jewish identities, most cited concerns about being “verbally attacked.”

Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

https://jewishjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/jj_avatar.jpg
Aaron Bandler
Aaron Bandler is a staff writer for the Jewish Journal, mainly covering anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias. Originally from the Bay Area, his past work experience includes writing for The Daily Wire, The Daily Caller and Townhall.

A new poll released by Louis Brandeis Center on September 20 found that half of students in the Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi) fraternity and Alpha Epsilon Phi (AEPhi) sorority hide their Jewish identities on college campuses.

The poll, which was conducted by the Cohen Research Group from April 14-21, surveyed 710 AEPi members and 317 AEPhi members. Forty-nine percent of AEPi members and 50% of AEPhi members said they felt like they had to hide their Jewish identities while attending virtual or in-person events on campus. Of those who said they felt like they needed to hide their Jewish identities, most cited concerns about being “verbally attacked.” About 30% said they were concerned about a professor marginalizing or penalizing them and about a fifth said they were “concerned about being physically attacked.”

Thirteen percent of AEPi freshmen said they sometimes felt like they needed to hide their identity, whereas 22% of AEPi seniors felt that way. Among AEPhi members, those numbers were 10% and 24%, respectively. Those who felt that they needed to hide their identities “often” were at 2% for AEPi freshmen and 3% for AEPi seniors; similarly, those numbers were at 2% for both AEPhi freshmen and seniors.

Overall, 64% of AEPi members and 67% of AEPhi members said they felt unsafe being Jewish on college campuses. Twenty-six percent of AEPi members and 17% of AEPhi members said they had experienced or heard about an antisemitic incident on their campus over the past four months. 

Kenneth L. Marcus, Founder and Chairman of the Brandeis Center, told the Journal that “there is a lot of disturbing information” in the poll, saying that it was particularly “startling” that 11% of AEPi members and 7% of AEPhi members were aware of incidents in which students were spat at for being Jewish. The poll noted that these didn’t include the 15 AEPi members and the lone AEPhi member claiming that they were spat at for being Jewish. Marcus also argued that the poll likely understates the amount of antisemitism on campus since it was taken before Israel-Hamas conflict in May. 

“We know that antisemitic incidents were far higher at the end of this semester than they were during the period when this survey was done,” Marcus said. 

But Marcus felt that the most disturbing part of the survey was the number of AEPi and AEPhi members who didn’t feel comfortable expressing their Jewish identity on campus. “This grinding antisemitism over time has been having an effect on students, and the longer they’re on campus, the more intense the effect is. The more they are on campus, the more they see the extent of the problem and start to disengage Jewishly.”

He warned that such disengagement could be a long-term detriment for the Jewish community as a whole. “It’s not just a matter of students who wear kippahs deciding not to wear a kippah, although it is certainly deeply unfortunate if they feel they aren’t safe to do that. It’s also about students who feel that they can’t attend Jewish religious services or Israel-related events. The long-term effect, of course, is that it will increase ignorance and reduce communal involvement. We need for young people when they’re still in college to be exposed to a variety of ideas and practices and there’s no better time for them to deepen their involvement in Jewish life. If the opposite is happening, it will certainly effect the way they live their lives after their graduate.”

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

Culture

Latest Articles
Latest

Comedian Highlights Satirical Songwriter Tom Lehrer in New Musical

In a new solo Hollywood Fringe show called “The Layers of Tom Lehrer,” comedian Allan Murray is performing Lehrer’s songs and telling the world about the satirist he’s always enjoyed. 

Are We Losing Our Imagination?

The state of the national discourse has become so ugly, hostile and tribal it may be eroding one of the great human traits—the power to imagine.

DC Climate Group Won’t Participate in Voting Rights Rally Because of “Zionist Groups”

Sunrise DC’s statement went on to accuse Israel of using “violent and oppressive tactics” against the Palestinians.

Are Bialys Having a Moment?

Who knew it would take 40 years to taste the yeasty onion-strewn bread of my youth again? When I spotted some, next to the bagels on a generous buffet table at a recent event, I had to pinch myself.

Why Jews Laugh

In such a serious moment in which everything is politicized and partisan, and in which so many of us have become self-righteous about our politics and ideologies, maybe we have an even greater responsibility to laugh.

Hollywood

Podcasts

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x