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CUNY, Michigan Failed To Protect Jewish Students’ Civil Rights, Ed. Dept. Probe Reveals

An investigation by the U.S. Education Department found that the University of Michigan and the City University of New York failed to protect the civil rights of their Jewish students, the Education Department announced on Monday.

“In OCR’s review of university documentation of 75 reports the university received alleging shared ancestry harassment and/or discrimination from the 2022-23 school year through February 2024, OCR found no evidence that the university complied with its Title VI requirements,” the Department of Education stated of its investigation of University of Michigan.

The probe reached the same conclusions about CUNY’s Hunter College. One complaint letter about CUNY stated that “shortly after the beginning of each of the two class sessions, a group of students in attendance changed their Zoom backgrounds to the Palestinian flag and their visible screen names to ‘Free Palestine: Decolonize’ and read aloud a statement ‘defaming and demonizing Israel through false accusations of colonization, ethnic cleansing, genocide and more.”

The letter said that the university took no action as it claimed that it was protected free speech.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said that the Department will continue to carry out investigations on complaints of discrimination. There are currently 149 open Title VI investigations against schools and educational districts that receive federal funding.

“The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights continues to hold schools accountable for compliance with civil rights standards, including by investigating allegations of discrimination or harassment based on shared Jewish ancestry and shared Palestinian or Muslim ancestry,” Cardona said.

Rabbi Asher Lopatin, director of community relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, told JNS that the urge to lump in the condemnation of anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian bigotry, including in Monday’s resolution disagreements, risks missing the acute threat that currently faces Jews.

“I’m very much against saying it’s all the same,” Lopatin said. “It gets into this ‘All Lives Matter’ thing. This is a time to say Jewish lives matter.”

“There was a time when we had to say, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ because there was a particular issue of discrimination against African Americans, and now is a time where people have to say ‘Jewish Lives Matter.’ The emphasis has to be that it’s become a hostile environment for many Jews on campus.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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