City Councilmembers recently presented Hunter College President Jennifer J. Raab with a $50,000 check to expand an innovative campaign fighting anti-Semitism on college campuses.
Since 2018, when President Raab created Hunter’s Jewish Studies Center in response to the rise of anti-Jewish attacks, Hunter has been leading the charge against such hatred. The college engages students of all creeds through its multi-faith center, and its Cooper Fellows — a cohort of Jewish and non-Jewish students — study ways to prevent anti-Semitism.
“Our goal has always been to reach out not just to Jewish students, but to all students on campus,” Raab said. “By ensuring everyone understands the horrors of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust, we can make certain that history does not repeat itself.”
Council Members Eric Dinowitz, a Hunter alum (MSE ’09) and chairman of the Jewish Caucus and the Committee on Higher Education, and City Council Majority Leader Keith Powers presented the check to Raab on April 17. The money is provided through Council Speaker Adrienne Adams’s new Hate Crimes Prevention Initiative.
“I would like to thank President Raab for her commitment to putting an end to hate and promoting truth,” Dinowitz said. “This funding will make our home a safer and more loving place for all.”
Councilmember Powers added the funds will also help fulfill one of the missions of the City Council. “I’m proud of the Council because we have really prioritized attacking the hate happening in this city by making sure we are resourcing those doing the work on the ground and in our institutions,” he said.
The program’s inaugural director, Professor Leah Garrett, stressed the importance of President Raab’s goal of engaging all students in the fight. “Making friendships across ethnicities is the most effective tool for combating hatred and anti-Semitism,” she said. “These funds support a center that is building bridges, fighting hatred, and making sure that Jewish voices remain strong and proud at Hunter and CUNY.”
The money will help pay for student internships at local Jewish institutions such as YIVO and the Museum of Jewish Heritage and trips to public events, including lectures, concerts, and film screenings.
The funding continues a tradition dating back more than 150 years of Hunter College battling prejudices. Founded by Thomas Hunter as a place where all races and creeds could study together side-by-side, for most of its history, Hunter was a women’s college that educated generations of Jewish women. Like its current student body, many were immigrants or the first in their families to attend college. The college, in fact, is the only one in the world to have graduated two female Nobel laureates in Medicine, both Jewish women (Gertrude Elion ’37 and Rosalyn Yalow ’41). The gift comes as Jewish people across the world observe Yom Hashoah, the week-long commemoration of the Holocaust.