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Jewish Advocacy Groups Ask US Office of Civil Rights to Guide Universities on Dealing with Campus Antisemitism

By Hana Levi Julian | Jewish Press | January 31, 2024



Photo Credit: Pixabay


‘Stand With Us’, partnering with the Zachor Legal Institute and the National Jewish Advocacy Center, has written to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights asking OCR to issue guidance on addressing the issue of antisemitism “in a manner that protects Jewish students on campus” for universities who receive federal funding.


“In recent years, anti-Israel and antisemitic activist groups and coalitions on college campuses have made vast inroads into student government organizations and leadership positions,” Stand With Us noted in the letter sent on Tuesday, Jan. 30.


Universities have delegated core institutional responsibilities to student governments,empowering student leadership to make decisions on behalf of the student body and perform administrative responsibilities—including recognizing student groups as official clubs, funding their activities, and processing their facilities/equipment reservations.

At many, if not most, college campuses, a student activities fee is collected from everystudents’ tuition by the university, which gives many student government bodies upwards of millions of dollars to allocate to the groups they recognize with little to no administrative oversight, the organization said.


“These awesome responsibilities have created a debacle where student governments are able to act independently to control the campus environment and abuse their power todiscriminate against Jewish and Israel students and groups, with little to no repercussions,” Stand With Us warned.


In its letter to OCR, the organization pointed out that for years, officially sanctioned anti-Zionist and antisemitic activist groups and student government bodies have used their administrative-given funding, programming and powers to ostracize, discriminate against, and harass Jewish and Israeli students/affiliated groups.


“Without a clear administrative response from the Office for Civil Rights, Jewish and Israeli students will continue to be discriminated against and deprived of their federal rights,” the organization said.


On Monday (Jan. 29), the US Department of Education on Monday announced a Title VI complaint settlement with the Red Clay Consolidated School District in Wilmington Delaware related to antisemitism and racism incidents.


The Delaware Public Education Ombudsman filed the complaint on behalf of a Jewish student and her family, citing repeated incidents of antisemitic harassment by racist classmates.


Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin, including shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance from the US Department of Education.


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