Dept of Education Investigates Anti-Semitism & Islamophobia at Three New York Colleges
Edited by: Fern Sidman
The Department of Education (DOE) has launched investigations into seven schools across the United States, including three in New York—Columbia University, Cornell University, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art—over complaints of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia on their campuses, as was reported by the New York Post. These federal probes, the first since the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel, are examining five reported cases of anti-Semitism and two of Islamophobia.
The other institutions under investigation include Wellesley College in Massachusetts, the University of Pennsylvania, Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and the Maize school district in Kansas, which serves K-12 students, according to the Post report.
The DOE’s investigations come in response to a surge in hateful acts on college campuses in the aftermath of the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, during which Hamas launched a terror attack on October 7, resulting in the deaths of 1,200 Israelis, the Post report. The Jewish state retaliated against the terror group in Gaza.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona emphasized that “hate has no place in our schools” and stated, “When students are targeted because they are — or are perceived to be — Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Sikh, or any other ethnicity or shared ancestry, schools must act to ensure safe and inclusive educational environments where everyone is free to learn,” the Post report said.
The DOE investigations will lead to recommendations for the schools, and non-compliance could potentially result in the loss of federal funding. The Post report indicated that this move aligns with the DOE’s guidance issued earlier this month, emphasizing the legal obligation of K-12 schools and colleges to address incidents of discrimination.
The Post also reported that recent incidents at the schools under investigation include a Cornell University student’s arrest for making violent threats against Jewish peers, graffiti with anti-Israel sentiments appearing at Cornell, and the suspension of two far-left student groups at Columbia University for violating university policies related to threatening rhetoric and intimidation.
These investigations underscore the broader challenges faced by educational institutions in addressing discrimination and promoting inclusivity on their campuses, particularly during periods of heightened geopolitical tensions. The DOE’s actions aim to ensure that educational environments remain safe and free from discrimination for all students.