Bipartisan Congressional Letter Urges US Education Department to Step Up Fight Against Campus Antisemitism

The U.S. Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

February 13, 2022

A bipartisan group of 39 U.S. Congress members — led by Representative Ted Lieu (CA-33) — wrote a letter to the Department of Education earlier this month urging it to step up action against rising antisemitism on American college campuses.

Among other data, the letter — sent to Assistance Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Cathy Lhamon — cited an Alums for Campus Fairness poll from last year in which 3/4 of respondents (consisting of current college students and recent graduates) said campus antisemitism was a “very serious problem.”

To address the issue, the congressional letter made the three following requests of the Department of Education (DOE):

– 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.

The letter can be read in full here.

Category:On Campus