Watch CBS News

Rutgers University protest agreement not sitting well with everyone on campus. Here's what they're saying.

Rutgers University protest agreement not sitting well with Jews on campus
Rutgers University protest agreement not sitting well with Jews on campus 02:17

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Pro-Palestinian student encampments were voluntarily taken down at Rutgers University-New Brunswick late last week after school leadership agreed to eight of the protesters' 10 demands.

The deal included Rutgers accepting 10 Palestinian students displaced by the war in Gaza on scholarship and creating an Arab Cultural Center on campus by the start of the 2024 fall semester.

The university did not agree to divest from companies with ties to Israel or sever its relationship with Tel Aviv University.

The agreement, which is contingent upon no more disruptions or protests breaking out on campus, is facing criticism from some lawmakers, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, who said Tuesday the university's approach to hearing demands from protesters differed from how it handled Jewish student complaints on antisemitism.

On Wednesday, some Jewish students and leaders told CBS New York the agreement doesn't sit well with them, either.

Jewish students recount examples of harassment on campus  

A billboard with pictures of hostages kidnapped by Hamas on Oct. 7 sits in front of Chabad of Central New Jersey on the New Brunswick campus. Rose Gottschalk, a Jewish freshman, said it is her safe place after being harassed on campus and in her Arabic class.

"It got to a point that where I started to feel harassed and felt unsafe. I ended up dropping the class and the university is really taking care of it. They are helping me. They are getting it off my transcript," Gottschalk said.

Rivka Schafer, who is also Jewish, said someone plastered a photo of them at a pro-Israeli rally at her dorm with the words "Free Gaza" on it.

"Someone had targeted me for my religion and my religious beliefs, where I lived, where I slept, and I just felt so incredibly unsafe," Schafer said.

Israeli student Yair Herskowitz said Oct. 7 was traumatizing and protesters aren't talking about that.

"I had friends that were killed and family that was affected and hostage who were in my school," Herskowitz said.

Baruch Goodman, the rabbi of the Chabad, said the students he speaks to are uncomfortable on campus and used as an example a university town hall that abruptly ended after protests silenced Jewish voices.

Goodman said Rutgers University giving into protester demands makes Jewish students less safe.

"We are totally dismayed by the actions of the president's office. President Holloway has been a friend all this time," Goodman said.

Palestinian supporters say deal with Rutgers "was a victory"

At the Center for Islamic Life at Rutgers University, Kaiser Aslam, the chaplain, said antisemitism does not represent the pro-Palestinian movement.

"There were a lot of Jewish students present and over and over again the organizers were saying our movement is not about antisemitism," Aslam said.

He praised the university's acceptance of 80% of the demands.

"The whole community says this was a victory and we will be continuing to work hard, making sure the university follows through," Aslam said. "We have literal students on this campus who've lost hundreds of members of their family."

Both sides say they want peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.