Op-Ed: Why I file Title VI complaints against universities



In the last two weeks, Jewish undergraduates at Tufts University were harassed and “spat on” during a student government meeting, and University of California Berkeley student protesters attempted to block a Jewish speaker on campus, yelling “dirty Jew” without shame. College students don’t feel the need to cover their faces as they make their racism known.

The lack of national media attention and scrutiny on these incidents make the situation worse. These antisemitic students feel no shame because the country has appeared to stop caring about antisemitism from the left.

Gone is the outrage we saw on Capitol Hill just a few months ago when presidents of top universities couldn’t condemn calls to murder Jews. Predictably, the news cycle has moved on, and the public has lost interest. But I haven’t, and neither have Jewish students at these institutions. They live it every day.

The bottom line is that college campuses are still not safe for Jewish students. That’s why I have submitted 33 Title VI complaints to the Department of Education asking the agency to investigate universities that failed to protect Jewish students under the law, and I am doing everything I can to inform the public about the need to root out antisemitism in higher education.

Antisemitic professors, students, and staff are still in their positions, and antisemitic views and demonstrations have not gone away. The incidents at Tufts and Berkeley are just the two latest examples. Last week, Harvard hosted a Rutgers University professor who previously appeared on a panel with a member of Hamas who promised “a million more” Oct. 7-style attacks.

Another example of antisemitic sympathy occurred at Stanford University where the administration conceded to meet with student protesters demanding the school condemn and boycott Israel.

These examples prove that higher education officials are not doing enough to combat antisemitism before anti-Jewish incidents occur on campus. Nothing has improved.

Title VI is a component of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibits recipients of federal funding from discriminating against individuals on the basis of race and national origin. Such discrimination can be grounds for the federal government to deny funding.

Of the 32 Title VI complaints I have filed with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against universities that mishandled antisemitic incidents or did nothing to address Jew-hatred on campus, 11 investigations have been opened. This is a good start but more needs to be done.

I am optimistic that the Title VI investigations will yield results because the process has more humanity than I ever expected. OCR lawyers are passionate about their jobs, and I have heard anecdotally that these investigations give Jewish students and alumni hope.

Institutional ineptitude is bad, but the media’s coverage of higher education’s dysfunctions is worse. The mainstream media has fumbled its coverage of campus antisemitism and chooses not to scrutinize Jew-hating students and staff. It chooses not to ask tough questions of antisemites and does not investigate institutional discrimination beyond the republication of sanitized press releases.

Mainstream media needs to report antisemitic incidents like the one at Berkeley thoroughly, with the old-school investigative curiosity that journalists used to possess. The current lack of curiosity enables antisemites to thrive on campus.

Without the media going beyond perfunctory reporting, antisemites do not face external accountability and scrutiny. The moral outrage needed to cleanse America of Jew-hatred has disappeared in the void of meaningful journalistic investigations. The broken systems that Liz Magill and Claudine Gay represented during their disastrous congressional testimonies ended up being no more than a glorified extended news cycle.

Any member of the public can file a Title VI complaint against a college or university. Concerned citizens with examples of antisemitic discrimination should use the complaint system to hold higher education institutions accountable.

Title VI investigations are long bureaucratic processes that have no immediate impact on daily campus life. That’s why continued media scrutiny and outside pressure are so vital. Higher education is unable to redeem itself, so outside forces must force institutional reform for the better.

Parents, alumni, and donors need to speak out too. I encourage everyone who is deeply concerned about ideologically driven hate and intolerance on campus to stand up and file Title VI complaints.

Don’t forget that these examples are only the incidents we know about. Too much Jew-hatred goes unreported because students fear the consequences of speaking up. Title VI investigations can empower those who have felt unable to stand up and make a difference.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

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