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University leaders need to dig deeper into why some students are feeling unsafe after a slew of anti-Israel protests led to encampments, mass arrests and antisemitic accusations on college campuses, a Jewish student at Brandeis University told Fox News Digital. 

"Even if you're not physically threatened, it's very scary to walk past a group of people who unconditionally hate you," Shai Goldberg-Kellman told Fox News Digital

"I think that people should try to imagine what it's like walking past this place every day that's supposed to be their home and feeling like there are people that just hate them for no reason, and the kind of mental toll that takes on you," he continued.

Anti-Israeli demonstrations have escalated at U.S. universities in response to the Israel-Hamas war, with many colleges, including Columbia University, seeing rallies paired with antisemitic incidents that have left some Jewish students feeling unsafe. But Brandeis University was one of two colleges to receive an A grade over its handling of antisemitism and for promoting a safe environment for Jewish students, according to the Anti-Defamation League's Campus Antisemitism Report Card published in April. 

"Brandeis showed from day one that they were going to value the founding values of the school, which was being a safe place for Jews," Goldberg-Kellman, who has many family members and friends living in Israel, said. 

AS ANTISEMITISM INFILTRATES COLLEGE CAMPUSES, THIS FREE-SPEECH FOCUSED SCHOOL EXPECTS A FLOOD OF APPLICANTS

Brandeis University

Brandeis University disbarred the Students for Justice in Palestine chapter in November.? (Getty Images)

Brandeis University President Ron Liebowitz released a statement on Oct. 7, 2023, immediately condemning Hamas' attack on Israel and the Middle Eastern nation's right to defend itself. The university head also started an initiative to counter antisemitism in higher education quickly after. 

Student organizations that engage in antisemitic language should "lose all privileges associated with affiliation at their schools," Liebowitz additionally said in a Boston Globe op-ed published on November 6. On the same day, Brandeis, established in 1948 by the American Jewish community, banned its Students for Justice in Palestine chapter.

"I've never really felt like somebody who feels unsafe to be a Jew," Goldberg-Kellman said. "I wear a kippah. I walk around anywhere that I want with it, and I've never really felt threatened, but that isn't to say that it's not real."

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"I have a lot of friends on different campuses, at Yale, at Columbia, who are absolutely destroyed right now because they don't feel safe walking around," he said. "It is absolutely a real thing that is happening." 

In 2023, there were a record-high 8,873 antisemitic incidents across the U.S., rising 140% from the year prior, according to the ADL. Antisemitic incidents on college campuses specifically jumped 321% from 2022 with 922 occurrences.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ACCEPTED TO COLUMBIA SAYING ‘NO THANK YOU’ DUE TO ANTISEMITISM: COLLEGE CONSULTANT. WATCH:

Anti-Israel protests at Columbia, for example, reached a boiling point in April after a pro-Palestinian encampment formed on campus, causing fear and escalating growing tensions among some students. The protests led the college to switch to hybrid or virtual learning to close out the semester and caused the school to cancel its main graduation commencement due to safety concerns. 

"I've had conversations with many people who disagree with me, and it was always entirely comfortable for me … because I'm at Brandeis," Goldberg-Kellman said. "I think that's kind of the main difference of what it's like to be a Jewish student right now."

"If I were at Columbia, I think I would probably still be doing that, but I would not have that same kind of security behind me while I'm doing it, and I think that's something that needs to be addressed," he continued.

The campus hostility and fear among Jewish students following some college protests even led Brandeis to extend its transfer application deadline to May 31, according to a press release.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY STUDENT IN HANDCUFFS RIPS UP DIPLOMA ON COMMENCEMENT STAGE IN ACT OF PROTEST

"I do know that there have been a lot more transfers coming in, and a lot more people who are interested," Goldberg-Kellman said. "Going into a college decision process knowing what's happened now and making decisions off of that is going to be such a different scenario to what anyone else has ever had to really deal with."

Goldberg-Kellman said it's time for universities to re-evaluate as the semester comes to an end. 

"I think that now with the arrests and with the encampments being taken down, there might be an opportunity for a do-over to some degree if things are handled correctly," he said.

Columbia University protests

A pro-Palestinian encampment formed on Columbia University in April as protests escalated on college campuses nationwide.? (Getty Images)

He pointed to Brown University leaders' compromise with protesters as an example of how students and colleges can work together to promote a safe environment and protect free speech. The school's anti-Israel demonstrators shut down their encampment in exchange for administrators taking a vote in October on a proposal to divest from Israel. 

"I think that doing something like that kind of deescalates the situation from one where it's a group against a university to one where they're actually trying to accomplish something," Goldberg-Kellman told Fox News Digital.

"No one is hurting me as a Jewish student by going to the university president and saying, ‘here are my concerns,’" he said. "So, I think where to go from here and kind of what we should have done is the same thing, which is just listen to your students and make them feel like you're not ignoring them, because they're adults."

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Goldberg-Kellman also said students should also avoid making assumptions about others' beliefs and focus on civil dialogue. 

"I think that there are a lot of people on campuses, and in the world, who believe fairly reasonable things about the world," he said. "I think we can all agree that killing civilians is a bad thing. I think we can all agree that terrorism is a bad thing. I think that if you get people together, you're going to have a lot more in common than you think you do."

Brandeis did not respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment. 

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