Robert Kraft Donates $1M to Yeshiva University to Support Transfer Students Amid Rising Campus Antisemitism


Two months after withdrawing his support from Columbia University due to its handling of pro-Palestinian protests, Robert Kraft has announced a significant new

donation to Yeshiva University.

On Tuesday, the billionaire philanthropist and owner of the New England Patriots revealed his $1 million donation to the prominent Modern Orthodox university. This funding will establish a program to support incoming transfer students, many of whom are expected to come from secular universities amid ongoing protests.

In April, Kraft announced he was pulling his support from Columbia University, his alma mater, where he had previously donated millions. The university's sports field and the Jewish student center bear his name. He expressed a lack of confidence in Columbia’s ability to protect its students and staff, stating he would withhold support until corrective actions were taken.

Kraft's decision followed the surge in pro-Palestinian protests at Columbia and other universities since the Israel-Hamas war outbreak on October 7. These protests led to thousands of arrests and increased concerns about hostility towards Jewish students on campuses nationwide.

Yeshiva University has positioned itself as a safe haven for Jewish students fearing antisemitism at other institutions. Following Kraft’s announcement, Y.U. declared it would reopen applications for transfer students, emphasizing their commitment to providing a secure environment.

Rabbi Ari Berman, Y.U.’s president, underscored this commitment in an open letter, stating, "No Jewish student should have to face the threats and intimidation that has sadly been taking place." He added that despite already full enrollments for the upcoming year, the university would not turn its back on these students.

While Y.U. has reported an increase in applications, specific data on undergraduate and transfer applications were not disclosed by a university spokesperson.

Kraft joins other Jewish philanthropists withdrawing support from institutions over antisemitism concerns. Recently, David Magerman redirected his contributions to Israel's Jerusalem College of Technology, and Henry Swieca resigned from the board of Columbia Business School due to safety concerns for Jewish students.

Kraft's $1 million donation will fund the “Blue Square Scholars” program at Y.U., named after the symbol central to his “#StandUpToJewishHate” campaign. This campaign, led by his Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, features a blue square icon signaling opposition to antisemitism and has appeared widely in social media and major TV events.

In his statement, Kraft emphasized the need for a welcoming environment for Jewish students amid rising campus hate. He expressed hope that Yeshiva University would provide a safe and thriving academic space for these students. Photo by Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia commons.

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