February 9th, 2022
Photo: Evgenia Parajanian / Shutterstock.com
StandWithUs would like to express sincere gratitude to Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33) for spearheading a bipartisan letter to the United States Department of Education (DOE), asking the DOE to provide much needed technical assistance to the higher educations community about antisemitism, its various manifestations, and the protections to which Jewish and Israeli students are afforded under federal civil rights laws. It also seeks to end the stagnation of complaints filed with the DOE under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 based on antisemitic harassment and discrimination. StandWithUs, in partnership with several current and former students, currently has two such complaints pending, one of which was filed over two years ago.
We also thank each of the additional thirty-eight Members of Congress who joined Representative Lieu as signatories to this letter. This initiative sends a clear message that our elected officials are concerned about rising antisemitism in the educational context, and are being vigilant to ensure that federal taxpayer dollars are not used to support entities that fail in their responsibilities to adequately remedy antisemitic environments. It is our sincere hope that the DOE will respond to this letter expeditiously and that this effort will lead to improved response time to these complaints. This, in turn, will lead to increased protection for Jewish and non-Jewish students who care about Israel, and Israeli faculty, staff and students on campuses nationwide.
REP LIEU LEADS BIPARTISAN LETTER URGING EDUCATION DEPARTMENT TO ADDRESS ANTISEMITISM ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County) shared a letter he sent with 39 bipartisan Members of Congress last week urging the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education to take concrete measures to address antisemitism on college campuses and universities. In the letter, the Members pushed the Department of Education to more to support Jewish students and address the growing threat of antisemitism on American campuses.
In the letter, the Members wrote:
Dear Assistant Secretary Lhamon:
Thank you for your service. The Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education plays a key role in protecting students from discrimination. Antisemitism has been on the rise in the United States and around the globe. According to a recent report by the FBI, Jews are the most targeted group for religion-based hate crimes in the United States. In 2020, approximately 60% of religion-based hate crimes in the US targeted Jews.
This wave of antisemitism has had a detrimental impact at many American colleges and universities. Alums for Campus Fairness released a recent survey in which 75% of the 500 respondents (including current students and recent alums) indicated that antisemitism continues to be a “very serious problem” on campus; nearly 70% said they avoided certain places, events, or situations on campus because of their Jewish identity; and nearly half of the respondents stated that antisemitism on campus is getting worse. This demonstrates that Jewish students need assistance and protection from the growing threat of antisemitism on American campuses.
In light of this reality, and our concern for Jewish students on campus, we are requesting the following:
The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) should provide technical assistance regarding campus antisemitism either (a) through the Outreach, Prevention, Education & Nondiscrimination (OPEN) Center created specifically for this purpose within OCR; or (b) directly to colleges, universities, Jewish students, and Jewish faculty about civil rights protections afforded to Jewish students under federal civil rights.
There appears to be a significant delay in OCR completing investigations of Title VI complaints relating to antisemitism and other instances of discrimination in higher education, with some complaints filed as far back as 2018 and still pending. Therefore, for each Title VI complaint that has been pending in OCR for more than 180 days, we request that you provide the following information: (a) the status of the case; (b) the reason(s) it has not been resolved; and (c) an estimated time frame for its resolution.
During spring 2021, the Biden Administration announced the DOE's intention to issue a proposed rulemaking in response to Executive Order 13899 on Combating Anti-Semitism and Executive Order 13985 on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. In the fall 2021 Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan, the administration moved the projected date for issuing notice and proposing regulation of Title VI from January to December of 2022. After a year with historic levels of antisemitism, we ask that the administration re-prioritize the rulemaking process for Title VI and ensure it remains a priority as opposed to a long-term action.
These delays in processing Title VI complaints are delaying justice and potentially allowing discrimination to persist on campuses throughout the country. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
Congressman Lieu is a member of the House Foreign Affairs and House Judiciary Committees, and serves as a Co-Chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Mr. Lieu is a veteran, having served on Active Duty in the Air Force
StandWithUs (SWU) is an international, non-profit 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 on 5 continents, including the U.S., Israel, UK, Canada, South Africa and Brazil. For the last 10 years, SWU has consistently received the highest possible ratings from Charity Navigator (4 stars) and Guidestar (Platinum).