The U.S. Department of Education has disclosed that it is conducting investigations into potential Title VI violations at several prominent institutions, including The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell and Columbia universities. The announcement comes in the wake of concerning incidents of antisemitism on these campuses.
The Cooper Union faced an unsettling episode on Oct. 25 when Jewish students sought refuge in a library as anti-Israel protesters attempted to enter. Meanwhile, Penn President Liz Magill acknowledged on Nov. 9 the presence of “vile, antisemitic messages” projected on campus buildings. The campus hosted the “Palestine Writes” literary festival in late September, featuring notorious antisemites.
At Cornell, a student was arrested on Nov. 1 for making antisemitic death threats that led to the temporary closure of the campus Hillel kosher dining hall. In late October, Columbia and Barnard students expressed dissatisfaction with the perceived “inaction” at their schools amid attacks on Jews.
The Education Department is also investigating the Maize Unified School District in Kansas, Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and Wellesley College in Massachusetts for Title VI violations.
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona emphasized the government’s commitment to preventing hatred and discrimination in schools. He stated, “Hate has no place in our schools, period.”
The Louis D. Brandeis Center, a nonprofit organization, filed civil-rights complaints against Penn and Wellesley on Nov. 10, accusing them of permitting anti-Jewish discrimination. Wellesley faced allegations, including an Oct. 18 email from a residential adviser stating that there should be “no space, no consideration and no support for Zionism within the Wellesley College community.”
Kenneth Marcus, founder and chairman of the Brandeis Center, emphasized that these institutions have failed to ensure the safety of Jewish students, asserting that they are in violation of federal civil-rights law. He praised the courage of students who came forward and collaborated with the center to address and rectify the issue of rampant discrimination against Jewish individuals on campuses.