‘We welcome all’: Mass. college extends transfer date amid pro-Palestinian protests at other schools

WALTHAM, Mass. — A Massachusetts college has extended its transfer application deadline for students in fear of their safety as pro-Palestinian student protests continue to lead to arrests and tense moments on campuses across the country.

Students on campuses, including locally at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Tufts University, and Emerson College, have been participating in intensifying demonstrations over Israel’s war with Hamas.

These students are demanding their school call for a ceasefire in the war after initial protests started and an encampment was set up on the campus of Columbia University.

The MIT Israel Alliance called their encampment “anti-Jewish.” The group has said that many Jewish students are afraid to visit the school’s Hillel building fearing potential violence and that some have even evacuated their dorms.

In the wake of these protests, Brandeis University in Waltham announced it was extending its transfer application deadline from May 31 to July 1.

“I am sure many of you have seen or read about the numerous protests on college and university campuses, where Jewish students are being targeted and attacked physically and verbally, preventing them from pursuing their studies and activities outside of class, just because they are Jewish or support Israel. For many, their safety has been compromised and this is unacceptable,” Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz said in a notice sent to the university community. “Brandeis has been committed to protecting the safety of all its students, and, in the current atmosphere, we are proud of the supports we have in place to allow Jewish students to thrive.”

Liebowitz added, “We are now expanding the opportunity for students to seek the learning environment of our campus...Students elsewhere should know we welcome all — Jews and students from every background — who seek an excellent undergraduate education and an environment striving to be free of harassment and Jew-hatred.”

Brandeis was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community to counter antisemitism and quotas on Jewish enrollment in higher education, Liebowitz noted in his announcement.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a graduate of Columbia, has also said that he’s “not comfortable supporting” the New York City university because of the protests.

Students at other colleges including Yale University, New York University, the University of Michigan, California State Polytechnic University, and the University of Rochester, among others, were also participating in protests.

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