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Students at University of Kansas raise concerns amid pro-Palestine protests across U.S. campuses

Students at University of Kansas raise concerns amid pro-Palestinian demonstrations across U.S. campuses
Posted at 6:13 AM, Apr 26, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As pro-Palestine demonstrations continue across college campuses nationwide, Jewish students at the University of Kansas express a growing sense of fear and unease.

The demonstrations, sparked by escalating tensions in the Middle East, have prompted concerns about safety and a rise in antisemitic incidents. Ben Davis, assistant director of the Hillel organization said some students walk with fear on campus.

“It's uncomfortable. It's something that's always present in one's mind. And, you know, students should be thinking about their studies and about their friends and about how they're expressing their faith. And unfortunately, safety is top of mind and it's pervasive throughout everything," Davis said.

Pro-Palestinian protesters are voicing for universities to cut ties with Israel. Those demonstrations have led to dozens of arrests, leading to campuses going online for the remainder of the year.

Although students at KU are not seeing demonstrations on campuses, Davis said students are feeling increasingly vulnerable.

“Unfortunately, this has been a trend happening since the fall, and it's only gotten worse. Thankfully, things have been pretty calm on this campus and students feel safe, but things nationally are not going in the right direction and something needs to change," said Davis.

Because of an alarming increase in threats towards the Jewish community, Hillel at KU has extended its office hours and will be hosting gatherings on Friday evenings in support of its community.

“We pray that the madness on campuses across the country stops, that students will feel safe on campus without having to think, 'Do I wear my Star of David necklace? Do I not? Do I feel safe wearing Hebrew on my shirt? Because someone might shout at me or attack me because of my faith,'" Davis said.

Davis said he believes families at KU can assure safety is top of mind for all students.

“There are many families who have taken universities off of their list because of what’s going on that campus. Thankfully, thankfully, KU is not one of them," Davis said.