Shalom Nashville!

April 29, 2002

In Effort to Lift Their Rankings, Colleges Recruit Jewish Students

Competition for top Jewish students is prompting a flurry of new Jewish cultural centers and Judaic Studies programs at universities across the country. But at Vanderbilt and a few other universities, including some officially Christian campuses, the unabashed wooing of the Jewish community has struck some Jews and non-Jews alike as a questionable new form of ethnic profiling -- even though it's based on a seemingly positive stereotype.
Although other ethnic and racial groups, notably blacks and Hispanics, have been targeted by many universities, that effort has largely been to promote diversity or to increase opportunity for the economically disadvantaged. Something else is driving the quest for more Jews -- about which Vanderbilt is unusually forthright. It wants them to raise its academic standing.

I'm not sure what to think about this... It's good to see more Jewish studies programs. It's good to see schools actively recruiting Jewish students rather than actively discriminiating. But this is more like a way of treating a symptom rather than a disease. Yes, many top schools have a larger percentage of Jewish students than the general public, but that is not the cause of being a good school.

Posted by Andrew Raff at April 29, 2002 01:00 PM