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Lesley University

Lesley is a private university located in Cambridge, MA. Lesley University provides support to Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland and theft of Palestinian resources, and Lesley bears considerable responsibility for the displacement of working class residents from Cambridge and surrounding communities.

Support for Israeli colonization

As Mitchell Kossak and Vivien Marcow-Speiser note in a 2009 article, "Lesley University has existed in one form or other, in Israel, for nearly 30 of the country’s 60 years," through partnerships including "The Lesley University Israel Extension Program," as well as Lesley's "Expressive Therapies program in Israel." Of particular note, Lesley University graduate and former IDF soldier Judith Yovel Recanati co-founded "NATAL – Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center." Through a 12-year running collaboration with Tel Aviv Medical School, NATAL facilitates for "Lesley students come to Israel to get the tools to train people in the NATAL model to help people with trauma."

Lesley University students also receives pro-Israel programming from from Hillel Council of New England (HCNE), which lists Lesley as one of its "affiliate campuses." Working under Hillel International, HCNE directs Lesley students to connect with Zionist organizations and initiatives, while encouraging Lesley students to attend Israel-based internship programs and spring break trips to Israel.

Responsibility for displacement ("gentrification")

The Lesley University campus occupies 15.9 acres of land in the Northern part of Cambridge, MA. However, Lesley University owns a total of 52 parcels of land in the area which, along with the structures built upon them, are collectively valued at $386,492,500 (Source: MassGIS statewide parcels dataset, 2021). By gobbling up local real estate as well as attracting student and faculty populations into the area which are, on average, whiter and wealthier than pre-existing communities, Lesley bears considerable responsibility for driving up housing, rental, and living costs in Cambridge and surrounding communities (see image below), a process which is leaving working class residents, Black and Brown residents in particular, increasingly unable to afford to remain in the communities they have called home for years if not decades.

(Image source: here)

29 Everett St, Cambridge, MA 02138

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