3 Ivy Leagues among schools facing federal antisemitism, Islamaphobia investigation

November 17, 2023

Three Ivy League universities—Cornell, Columbia and Penn—are among seven schools being investigated by the Department of Education following complaints of alleged incidents of antisemitism and Islamaphobia.

Altogether, the Department of Ed is looking into five cases of antisemitism and two cases of Islamaphobia. The schools under scrutiny include not just colleges and universities but one K-12 school—in Kansas—as well. 

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Friday that he expected more such investigations to come.

Earlier this month, Cardona warned that schools that don’t fight 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 investigations and 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.”

The Education Department’s investigations were launched under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which says universities, high schools and elementary schools have a responsibility to provide all students with an environment free from discrimination. 

Anyone can file a Title VI complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

PHOTO: LBJ Department of Education building in DC

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