The Lived Experiences of Anti-Semitism Encountered by Jewish Students on University Campuses: A Phenomenological Study

Chaya M. Abrams 1 * , Kelsey Armeni 1

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp. 172-191

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Campus climate informs student encounters on university campuses. Research indicates that discriminatory campus experiences impact the social, emotional, professional, and academic development of students. Although many studies discuss inequity among marginalized student groups, institutional Anti-Semitism is minimally discussed in scholarship. The current qualitative phenomenological study contributes to this literature gap by providing insight into the lived experiences of Jewish students in Counseling and Couple and Family Therapy programs who encountered Anti-Semitism at a public university. The guiding research question for this study was: What are the lived experiences of Jewish students who encounter Anti-Semitism on university campuses? Data collection involved online semi-structured interviews of participants and was followed by data analysis processes of thematic analysis and cross-case synthesis. Results indicated that being Jewish on campus includes four main challenges of (a) experiences of disclosing, externalizing, or embodying Jewish identity, (b) experiences of Anti-Semitism, (c) exclusionary experiences within multicultural education and courses, and (d) exclusionary experiences within social justice advocacy and minority status. Findings prompt future utilization of historical trauma informed instructional models and intergroup contact interventions within research and teaching in Counseling and Couple and Family Therapy programs.

Keywords: institutional anti-Semitism, phenomenology, campus climate, Jewish identity, historical trauma informed instructional models.