University officials in some instances have been reluctant to acknowledge anti-Semitism on campus or to respond to the concerns of Jewish students. However, the recent rise of anti-Semitism on college campuses caused others to confront the issue in an effort to insure that their campuses do not foster an atmosphere of intolerance.
Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers expressed concern about increased anti-Semitism on campus in a 2002 speech, saying that he was troubled that "serious and thoughtful people are advocating and taking actions that are anti-Semitic in their effect if not their intent."
More recently, Columbia University in New York began to scrutinize its Middle East/Asian Language and Culture Department (MEALAC), which has been frequently accused of teaching a biased and subjective representation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and which came under fire for hiring Rashid Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian activist, as its Edward Said Chair of the Middle East Institute.
Columbia President Lee Bollinger formed a committee, chaired by Columbia Law School professor Vincent Blasi, to "preserve a healthy atmosphere on campus." This represents a shift in the way the University has dealt with MEALAC in recent years, and may signify the beginning of a new, more balanced and less politicized era in the field of Middle Eastern studies at Columbia.