Schools that tolerate antisemitism, Islamaphobia risk losing funding: Education Secretary

November 7, 2023

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Tuesday that schools that don’t crack down on antisemitism and Islamaphobia risk losing their federal funding.

“We want to promote free speech and, to be frank with you, college campuses are where students should be able to express different opinions. But when it comes to antisemitism or Islamophobia, that has no place on our college campuses or in our schools,” Cardona told CNN.

The Secretary’s warning came amid rising tensions on school campuses in the wake of Israel’s war on Hamas in Gaza. Since Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack on Israel, colleges and universities have been struggling to balance campus safety and free speech concerns.

Earlier this month, a 21-year-old student at Cornell University was arrested and slapped with federal charges following social media posts threatening violence against Jewish students.

And Rabbi Esther Reed of Rutgers University has recently said that “Muslim students are walking around scared, just like the Jewish students are walking around scared.”

In late October the Biden Administration unveiled new actions to combat antisemitism on college campuses, with the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security partnering with campus law enforcement to track hate-related rhetoric online and provide federal resources to schools. 

A few days later, the White House unveiled a strategy, led by the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council, to target Islamaphobia in the United States. The Administration called it “a comprehensive and detailed plan created in partnership with communities to protect Muslims, and those perceived to be Muslim because of their race, national origin, ancestry or any other reason, from discrimination, hate, bigotry and violence.”

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