Education Department Adds Stanford, UCLA, Rutgers to Growing List of Colleges Facing Federal Discrimination Probe

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
December 14, 2023US News
Education Department Adds Stanford, UCLA, Rutgers to Growing List of Colleges Facing Federal Discrimination Probe
Protesters hold signs in support of Palestine "resistance" during a rally at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on Oct. 14, 2023. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

The list of American universities facing federal investigations over discrimination is growing. The Department of Education (DoE) recently added three facilities to its list, with six others having been added in the last week following allegations of discrimination against students on campus.

Stanford University, the University of California Los Angeles, Rutgers University, and others may face serious consequences in the event of non-compliance with the recommendations following the respective probes—which could include the loss of federal funding.

The probes were initiated under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which stipulates that universities and K-12 facilities will be held accountable for any discrimination based on race, color, or national origin against any student on campus.

The DoE has been actively seeking to address these issues, and launched a slew of investigations following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. The incident has increased tensions on many university campuses, including Harvard University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Several of these facilities subsequently received multiple complaints about racial discrimination, most notably anti-Semitism. Much of this has reportedly overwhelmed the DoE’s Office of Civil Rights, which lacks the staff and resources that would be required to investigate each arising case.

Two facilities, Whitman College and Rutgers, have confirmed that they are subject to the DoE’s probe pertaining to allegations of harassment against students of Jewish or Israeli origin, while reaffirming their stance against anti-Semitism and associated bias.

Rutgers has among the largest numbers of Jewish students of any college in the United States, second only to the University of Florida, according to Hillel International, the world’s largest Jewish campus organization.

NTD reached out to Stanford University, UCLA, Rutgers University, and others for further information, but did not yet receive a response from each.

“We have received notice that an investigation of a complaint has been opened related to alleged incidents of harassment in October and November 2023 of students on the basis of their national origin (shared Jewish ancestry and/or Israel). The notice provides no further details, but we will certainly fully cooperate. Rutgers stands against anti-Semitism and against hate in all its pernicious forms,” a statement by Rutgers to CNN read.

The investigations follow growing pressure on university leaders as reports of anti-Semitism on campuses have been increasing, resulting in the recent spike of Title VI probes.

Earlier this month, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) criticized the president of Rutgers in a letter for allowing an event on campus that provided a platform for what he referred to as well-known anti-Semites.

The event was titled “Race, Liberation, and Palestine: A Conversation with Noura Erakat, Nick Estes, and Marc Lamont Hill.”

Gottheimer noted that while on the surface, the discussion appears to be a valuable learning opportunity for students, in reality it served as a platform for two well-known anti-Semites, Marc Lamont Hill and Nick Estes.

“Students deserve to feel safe on their campuses, and allowing these speakers to present their anti-Semitic, anti-Israel views will promote hate speech and exacerbate the potential for violence and attacks toward Rutgers’ Jewish students,” the letter went on to say.

Several other facilities, including Harvard, MIT, and the University of Pennsylvania also received backlash from politicians and donors after their presidents provided testimonies at a House hearing on anti-Semitism on American campuses earlier this month.

While UPenn president Liz Magill resigned from her post shortly after the hearing, Harvard’s governing board announced on Dec. 12 that it would support its president, Claudine Gay, despite calls for her resignation.

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