Dept. of Education Investigating 6 Colleges, 1 K-12 District Over Antisemitic, Anti-Muslim Discrimination
Five of the complaints being investigated allege antisemitic harassment and two allege anti-Muslim harassment.
The U.S. Department of Education announced on Thursday that it is investigating six institutions of higher education and one K-12 school district over possible antisemitic, anti-Muslim, or anti-Arab harassment.
The schools being investigated are:
- Columbia University
- Cornell University
- Lafayette College
- Maize Unified School District
- Wellesley College
- University of Pennsylvania
- The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating the schools for alleged shared ancestry violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits race, color, or national origin discrimination, including harassment based on a person’s shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.
According to the education department, five of the complaints being investigated allege antisemitic harassment and two allege anti-Muslim harassment.
Earlier this month, the Department of Education released a Dear Colleague Letter reminding schools of their legal obligations under Title VI and its implementing regulations to provide all students a school environment free from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics.
All institutions of higher education and K-12 schools receiving federal funds must comply with Title VI. Schools that violate the law and refuse to address the problems identified by OCR can ultimately lose federal funding or be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further action.
One complaint being investigated alleged that an email sent by Wellesley College residential advisers and staff to students said, “there should be no space, no consideration, and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community,” reports NY1. Another complaint alleged Wellesley faculty participated in a “teach-in” where they shared their historical context and perspectives on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
Last month, vicious antisemitic posts prompted Cornell University officials to advise their Jewish students to avoid the school’s kosher dining hall. A Cornell junior has been arrested and charged for making those threats.
There has been an alarming rise in these types of incidents in the U.S. since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7. ADL reports that since the start of the conflict, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. have increased 316%. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that from October 7 to November 4, there have been 1,286 reported anti-Muslim or anti-Arab incidents.
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