Bill Introduced to Combat Campus Anti-Semitism in New Jersey
Two New Jersey state senators have introduced a bill to combat anti-Semitism on campuses and public schools across the state.
The bill, proposed by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland) and Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean), will expand the categories protected under the law to specify that discriminating against a person based on religion is prohibited.
It would make anti-Semitic incidents equal to the other types of discrimination that are already prohibited under the law. Additionally, public schools and higher education institutions will not be able to deny anyone admission based on their religion.
“Hate has no home in the Garden State. A school should be a safe and nurturing place – not a haven for discrimination,” Singer said in a statement. “It is hard to explain the trauma a young Jewish child experiences when they walk into a classroom and see a swastika on the chalkboard. Anti-Semitism is a cancer on society and it is growing in New Jersey.”
According to an Anti-Defamation League report, New Jersey ranked third for the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the nation in 2018, followed by California and New York.
“We have a responsibility to teach our children the value of tolerance, and ensure they are learning in an environment where everyone has the same opportunity to succeed,” Sweeney said.
“Our bipartisan bill clarifies that any hateful act committed with an anti-Semitic intent is against the law, and will be punished accordingly. It is a commonsense move that will protect students in every corner of New Jersey from being denied the right to learn based on their faith,” he added.
The bill also amends current sections of state law, including supplementing chapter 3B of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes, to clarify that discrimination based on religion is prohibited.
Campus anti-Semitism has been a trend across the nation for a while now. Last year, two people, who Brown University said were not enrolled in its programs, flashed an offensive anti-Semitic sign while making a video of themselves roaming around the campus. Similarly, the University of Rochester saw dozens of anti-semitic flyers appear within its Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender.