San Francisco, May 11, 2011 - Student accounts of anti-Semitic environments on various California campuses and at Rutgers University were selected in the first annual Gary A. Tobin Awards for college student journalism on anti-Semitism. The Institute for Jewish & Community Research and Student Free Press Association partnered to establish the competition recognizing excellence in student reporting about the campus environment for Jews.
The $1,000 print award went to Alex Katz, writing in the Stanford Review. His article "Anti-Semitism Thrives in Academia," focuses on the atmosphere on several campuses in California and features responses from activists working to improve conditions for Jews. The activists discuss how to identify anti-Semitic discourse and the role national organizations can play on campus.
Jake Binstein was selected for the new media category with his blog "BAKA lies." Using video clips, the blog chronicled a Rutgers event sponsored by the pro-Palestinian group BAKA. The event was advertised as free and open to the public. When "400 ardent Zionists showed up," Binstein argued that the organizers decided to make a $5 voluntary donation mandatory for Jewish students.
"The awards are a fitting tribute to the late Dr. Gary A. Tobin who was one of the first to understand the threat of rising anti-Semitism in American education," commented Kenneth L. Marcus, director of the Anti-Semitism Initiative. "As anti-Semitism persists on college campuses, exposure and documentation are of paramount importance. Student works can be quite influential in setting the tone of the dialogue both on and off campus. The awards program helps to publicize the issue, while providing public and tangible support for active students on campus."
The judges for the award included Marcus, Student Free Press Association President John J. Miller, founding president of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism Catherine Chatterley, and former director of the European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism Winston Pickett.
The Institute for Jewish & Community Research (IJCR) is an independent, non-partisan think tank that provides innovative research and pragmatic policy analyses on a broad range of issues including racial and religious identity, philanthropy, and anti-Semitism. www.jewishresearch.org
The Student Free Press Association (SFPA) is an individual membership organization of college-aged writers, bloggers, tweeters, podcasters, and viral video makers who seek to improve campus journalism, explore careers in the media, and commit themselves to the principles of a free society. www.StudentFreePress.net