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New College of Florida offers ‘haven for Harvard refugees’

Rabbi criticizes hostility toward Jews at Harvard

The New College of Florida wants Harvard University students who fear antisemitism on campus to transfer.

The new initiative has “not had any applicants” yet, according to the university, but even so, it is still important, according to a spokesman for the college.

Spokesman Nathan March directed The College Fix to an interview with President Richard Corcoran that explains “why the program is important even if it doesn’t attract any Harvard students to Sarasota.” The Fix followed up several weeks later on Dec. 27 via voicemail and email but received an out-of-office response due to the college offices being closed for the holidays.

President Corcoran said in the interview the free tuition program shows students that they will be free from “horrendous behavior” and “indoctrination.”

“Even if zero students take us up on it, the fact that The Wall Street Journal picked it up, the fact that people are covering it, the fact that you’re asking questions, what’s at issue is, ‘how do we save higher education,’” Corcoran said during the interview. The Wall Street Journal ran a commentary piece from Corcoran about the scholarship program.

New College, a small liberal arts school, has been part of the focus of Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign to reform higher education in the state. He has appointed conservative trustees to remake the school, including journalist Christopher Rufo and conservative scholar Mark Bauerlein.

Harvard University has not responded to multiple requests for comment on the program sent in the past month.

A rabbi criticized the university and provided advice to Jewish students who face hostility in emailed comments to The Fix.

MORE: 71 things higher ed declared racist in 2023

Pro-Palestinian activists “marching on campus…are hostile to Jews’ very existence, and no civilized person should tolerate Nazi-level Jew hatred, especially less than a century after the Holocaust, least of all on a college campus,” Rabbi Yaakov Menken told The Fix via email.

He leads the Coalition for Jewish Values as its managing director.

“Besides that it blames the victim to expect Jewish students to remain, leaving sends a clearer message,” Menken said. “This isn’t just about Jews—no one should tolerate this level of hatred on any campus.”

Jewish students who feel under threat should “file a public safety complaint every time something happens. It needs to be on record,” Rabbi Menken told The Fix.

“If they decide the environment is simply too hostile, they have to [t]ransfer, and sue. National Students for Justice in Palestine announced they are part of Hamas,” Menken said. “So there are colleges across America with people declaring themselves rapists and mass murderers, as long as the victims are Jews.”

He referenced the news that a Harvard rabbi, Hirschy Zarchi, said students have to hide their menorah every night because the university fears vandals attacking it if left out in public. The Harvard rabbi said the campus must change so Jewish students don’t need to live in this fear.

“He is right, of course. University security should be doing its job, and vandals should face expulsion,” Menken said. “It should be clear that calls for ethnic cleansing and genocide against Jews are grounds for immediate disciplinary action.”

“These are basic and obvious, and are of course already in force regarding any other minority. So why does Harvard treat Jews differently? The answer is sadly obvious.”

MORE: Two Catholic universities in Ohio offer refuge to Jewish students

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About the Author
Anna Wascovich -- Franciscan University of Steubenville