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Press Release: Department of Education OCR Resolves SWU's Title VI Complaint Against Hunter College, CUNY


(June 17, 2024 – New York, NY) – On June 17, 2024, StandWithUs was pleased to learn that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has resolved a Title VI Civil Rights complaint filed in November 2021, along with three students, against Hunter College, a CUNY school. 

StandWithUs’ complaint alleged a pervasively hostile environment for Jewish students in Hunter’s Silberman School of Social Work. It focused in particular on the administration’s failure to address virulently anti-Israel and antisemitic content in an end-of-the-year Zoom class session during the spring of 2021, despite ample knowledge of what transpired. StandWithUs commends the courageous Hunter College students who came forward to hold Hunter accountable for unaddressed antisemitism.

“We are gratified that OCR’s years-long investigation is finally concluded, with OCR determining what the student complainants have been saying from the outset: that the administration’s response was wholly inadequate because it did not speak with the students who attended the hostile class session to learn of its impact on them, nor did it communicate to students who reported concerns about antisemitism in the Silberman program any administrative action to investigate or address the issue,” said Carly Gammill, Director of Legal Strategy in the StandWithUs Saidoff Legal Department.

As OCR validated in its findings, the administration initiated a timely investigation by speaking to the dean of the program and the professors responsible for the classes, but never interviewed the students who attended the Zoom sessions and experienced antisemitism that day.

OCR concluded that “Hunter did not have a basis to support its [internal] determination that the impact of the incidents was not so severe or pervasive as to limit or deny students’ access to education.” OCR further expressed its concern that Hunter “may have allowed a hostile environment based on national origin to exist for some students of shared Jewish ancestry in the Program, including those who had to take the course to complete their degree.”

OCR’s resolution agreement with CUNY requires Hunter to re-open its investigation into the 2021 Zoom sessions that formed the primary basis for the StandWithUs complaint, including specifically reaching out to the student attendees regarding what occurred and how it impacted them. Hunter must subsequently provide OCR with the results of that investigation, including any remedial action CUNY intends to take should it conclude that a hostile antisemitic environment did, in fact, exist.

“One of our primary interests in submitting this Title VI complaint was ensuring that the student complainants would have the opportunity for their specific experiences and concerns to be heard—and addressed—by the administration,” said Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs Co-founder and CEO.  "Although the administration’s initial attempt to handle this matter was deficient in failing to include this crucial information, we are pleased that under the OCR resolution agreement, the administration will now be required to get it right, and we look forward to hearing what action the school will take to remedy the hostile antisemitic environment to which these students were subjected.”

OCR's final resolution letter and the resolution agreement are available HERE and HERE.

About StandWithUs 


StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, nonprofit, and non-partisan Israel education organization that works to inspire and educate people of all ages about Israel, as well as challenge misinformation and fight against antisemitism. 


Through university fellowships, high school internships, middle school curricula, conferences, materials, social media, educational films, and missions to Israel, StandWithUs supports people around the world who want to educate their schools and communities about Israel. 


Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization has chapters and programs throughout the U.S., Israel, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, the Netherlands and Australia. 

For the last eleven years, StandWithUs has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator and GuideStar, two charity watchdog groups that assess hundreds of thousands of charities in the United States. 


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