CAM Welcomes Decision by US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to Open Antisemitism Investigation Into University of Southern California
July 27, 2022
(Wednesday, July 27, 2022) — The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) has welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate allegations that the University of Southern California (USC) did not adequately address claims of antisemitism against a Jewish student leader who was subjected to intense harassment in 2020.
According to a complaint made by The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a partner of CAM, Rose Ritch, a Jewish student at USC, who was the victim of a concerted campaign of antisemitic harassment that targeted her on the basis of her shared ancestral and ethnic characteristics and sought to exclude her from the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) on account of her Jewish identity.
The Brandeis Center wrote that despite being made aware of the antisemitic abuse, “USC administrators did not speak out to condemn or call for the abatement of the antisemitic harassment and discrimination directed at Ritch on social media. The University’s failure to publicly condemn the antisemitic harassment or vindicate Rose by acknowledging that she had done nothing wrong and had been wrongly targeted on the basis of her identity, made it impossible for Rose to serve as student body president.”
CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa said, “We welcome the decision, but are ultimately saddened that the federal authorities have to intervene when the university authorities had ample time and opportunity to investigate the harassment of a Jewish student because of her identity. The feeling of insecurity and a lack of protection that Jewish students feel across American universities has to come to an end. Jews are constantly and consistently under attack, and it is being constantly ignored by those who should be protecting them.”
“USC has failed its Jewish students by its lack of action and in defense of Ritch who was clearly victimized as a Jew,” Roytman Dratwa added. “This is not about one individual but a trend targeting Jews and keeping them away from student office and the public space. The reign of immunity and impunity for anti-Semites on university campuses must end, and we hope that this step by the Department of Education will be the first to do this.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights is also currently investigating complaints filed by the Brandeis Center against the University of Illinois and Brooklyn College. And the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is investigating a Brandeis Center employment discrimination complaint of antisemitism in the DEI program at Stanford University.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement is a global coalition engaging more than 500 partner organizations and 1.7 million people from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. CAM acts collaboratively to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all humanity.