CUNY launches online portal for reporting discrimination

Misheel Bayasgalan, Copy Editor

With a rise in antisemitism, CUNY launches an online portal to report acts of discrimination and retaliation on campus. You can access the portal here.

This comes at a time when the city is facing antisemitic attacks at a 125% increase and a 45% increase in arrests for antisemitic crimes according to the NYPD.

The online portal is a centralized CUNY-wide system for students and staff to report cases of discrimination and related retaliation, including hate speech and violence. It was first started in late fall of last year as part of an overall university-wide effort to address all forms of hate on CUNY campuses, and aims to standardize the reporting procedure across all campuses.

“Our University refuses to tolerate discrimination, antisemitism or hate of any kind, and we want every member of the CUNY community to feel welcomed and safe on our campuses,” Chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez said in a statement to CUNY.

The reports collected via the portal are shared with the presidents and deans of the respective colleges. In turn, the college leaders are required to file semi-annual reports based on the reports collected at their campus.

These semi-annual reports serve as the basis of the continuing development of new anti-discrimination policies and training programs on campus. They also provide an opportunity to “conduct detailed analyses of the reported incidents, identifying trends and patterns so that the system can enhance its diversity, equity and inclusion programming” according to a CUNY statement.

CUNY and Hillel International, the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, announced a partnership in September 2022 where they distributed $600,000 to 24 CUNY colleges for programs and events to combat antisemitism and other forms of bias on campus, according to CUNY. This partnership is supported by a grant from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation.

$150,000 was specifically allocated as part of Hillel’s national Campus Climate Initiative. For example, Borough of Manhattan Community College conducted a campus climate survey, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ran a workshop titled “Understanding Jewish Experiences and Antisemitism” and Queensborough Community College’s Kupferberg Holocaust Center is teaching a Holocaust education program.

According to CUNY, the partnership also includes initiatives to incorporate antisemitism awareness in university-wide diversity, equity and inclusion trainings for administrators, staff and student leaders. It also expands CUNY’s student exchange and academic partnership programs in Israel in collaboration with the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.

The partnership is an outcome from the Scholar as Bridge Builders visit that Chancellor Rodríguez and a delegation of 12 CUNY college presidents and deans attended in April 2022 to Israel and the West Bank. The visit illustrated the works of many scholars “whose work is focused on the advancement of diversity and peace and explored avenues of academic collaboration and exchange,” according to CUNY.

In a statement to CUNY, Chancellor Rodríguez said of the visit, “It provided a lasting reminder of education’s capacity to foster an enlightened sense of goodwill between members of distinct communities, and to address the challenges of finding our common humanity in a climate of complex political and religious difference.”