Major Jewish Organizations Demand Removal of Northwestern University President and Board Chair Amid Racism Allegations

May 31, 2024
Contact: [email protected]

Major Jewish Organizations Demand Removal of Northwestern University President and Board Chair Amid Racism Allegations

Call for Accountability Follows Congressional Condemnation of President Schill for “Obstruction” and of Northwestern for “Refusal to Cooperate” in the Investigation

Major Jewish organizations have united to demand the immediate removal of Northwestern University President Michael H. Schill and Board of Trustees Chair Peter J. Barris. This call comes in response to the controversial April 29, 2024 agreement between President Schill, Chair Barris, and pro-terror encampment leaders, whose protest has been critically compared by Congress to past Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rallies.

The announcement follows numerous federal, state, civil, and administrative complaints against Northwestern, Schill, and Barris including:

President Schill’s testimony before Congress on May 23, 2024, underscored significant leadership challenges at Northwestern University. Through his short tenure of less than two-years, concerns regarding antisemitism, discrimination, racism and xenophobia have been repeatedly raised. Schill has neither enforced Northwestern’s Code of Conduct, nor proposed any credible solution to address these issues.

Chair Peter J. Barris served as Chair of the 2022 Presidential Search Committee that hired President Schill, along with the Board of Trustees, has continued to support Schill despite increasing allegations of racism. Calls have been made for Barris to hold the Schill administration accountable.

Moreover, Barris did not consult with the entire Board regarding the April 29, 2024 agreement. The agreement introduced governance changes involving the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees (creating a path for BDS) and also required Northwestern to undertake significant financial expenditures, creating financial liabilities. The agreement should have required unanimous consent from the Board.

The organizations urge the Board to remove Barris in accordance with Northwestern’s Bylaws and Statutes. Additionally, the Board is urged to use the rights allotted by Northwestern’s Statutes to discontinue the Al Jazeera joint venture, which trains students at the Qatar Campus (NU-Q) to legitimize antisemitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American narratives in Western media.

Congress’ Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx expressed strong disapproval of Schill’s testimony: “I’m appalled by the condescension and contempt you’ve shown for the committee and towards your own Jewish students. You’ve refused to answer basic questions on topics…you’ve given misleading answers that contradict the words of the agreement you signed.”

President Schill's Congressional testimony and prior public statements indicate inconsistencies regarding several critical issues, such as the status of the encampment, police availability to remove trespassers from university property, consultation with Jewish stakeholders, and funding received from Qatar.

President Schill and Northwestern are also defendants in a $130mm lawsuit filed by a former football coach. Initially, Schill imposed a two-week suspension on the coach, but under public pressure, he later terminated the coach's employment. This incident raises questions about the administration’s consistency in applying disciplinary measures in accordance with Northwestern’s Policies & Procedures.

The groups call for the appointment of an Independent Monitor (“Monitor”) to combat antisemitism at Northwestern. This Monitor, to be jointly selected by the Coalition Against Antisemitism at Northwestern (CAAN) and two leading Chicago-based Jewish organizations, would focus on resolving discriminatory complaints, enforcing policies, and coordinating training and education.

This announcement follows:

  • April 30, 2024: Letter from American Jewish Committee (AJC) which strongly criticized Schill for succumbing to the demands of a mob and failing to enforce University rules and policies.
  • May 1, 2024: Letter from Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), and Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation which called for Schill’s resignation.
  • May 1, 2024: Letter from ADL, StandWithUs, and The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law which called for Schill’s resignation.
  • May 1, 2024: Letter from The Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) which strongly criticized Schill for abandoning Jewish students and conceding to protesters' demands.
  • May 23, 2024: Letter from ADL reiterating the call for Schill’s resignation.
  • May 23, 2024: Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY) called for Schill’s resignation.
  • May 24, 2024: Congressman Burgess Owens (UT) called for Schill’s resignation.

Investigative journalists at The Washington Free Beacon have extensively documented civil rights failures and governance lapses at Northwestern since November 2023.

The coalition includes Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, the lead pastor of New Season Church and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which represents over 42,000 churches. The coalition also includes Pastor Mario Bramnick, the president of the Latino Coalition for Israel.

Signed by:

Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF)

B'nai B'rith International (BBI)

Chicago Jewish Alliance (CJA)

Coalition Against Antisemitism at Northwestern (CAAN)

Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM)

End Jew Hatred (EJH)

Israel Campus Coalition (ICC)

Israeli American Council (IAC)

Latino Coalition for Israel (LCI)

Lawfare Project Leadership

National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC)

Northwestern – Kellogg School of Management – The Jewish Business Association (JBA)

Northwestern – Pritzker School of Law – Jewish Law Students' Association (JLSA)

StandWithUs (SWU)

StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice (SCLJ)

World Jewish Congress – North America (WJC)

About ACF: Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) leverages the unique power of alumni to combat antisemitism on college campuses. ACF helps organize and cultivate alumni chapters for colleges and universities across the country, equipping members with tools, tactics, and training to proactively engage with administrators. Learn more at