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The federal Department of Education is currently investigating several prestigious universities in the US, such as Cornell, Columbia, Wellesley, and the University of Pennsylvania, for potential cases of antisemitism and Islamophobia.
Miguel Cardona, the Education Secretary, declared on Thursday that schools should not tolerate hate in any form. He emphasized the importance of creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students, regardless of their religion, ethnicity, or cultural background.
The recent investigations highlight the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration, along with the US Department of Education, to safeguard students from hate and discrimination.
The Department of Education did not specify the specific incidents being investigated at the mentioned institutions, which also included Cooper Union in New York, Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, and a public school district in Kansas.
The Independent has reached out to the universities for their response.
Columbia has acknowledged receiving the notification letter from the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education and is willing to cooperate with any investigation.
Cornell stated that they were not able to provide a comment.
Wellesley released a statement to CNN stating their dedication to addressing instances of antisemitism within their campus. They remain committed to fostering a space that promotes open communication and denounces all forms of bigotry and prejudice.
According to The Independent, universities in the United States have been at the center of cultural conflicts related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Individuals of various backgrounds, including Jews and Muslims, and those who align with or oppose Israel, have been subjected to assault, intimidation, and coercion.
A 19-year-old individual was accused of committing hate crimes in October after allegedly attacking an Israeli student at Columbia University. The incident reportedly occurred after the victim had hung posters regarding Israeli civilian casualties and hostages.
On October 31st, a student named Patrick Dai, who is 21 years old and attends Cornell University in New York, was taken into custody for reportedly making numerous severe threats of violence against the university’s Jewish community.
In California, at Stanford University, a student who identified as an Arab Muslim was injured in a hit-and-run incident. The driver reportedly shouted, “F*** you and your people,” which is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office as a potential hate crime.
The Anti-Defamation League, an organization devoted to protecting civil rights, monitors instances of antisemitism and other extreme beliefs. They report a 400% rise in antisemitic incidents throughout the US since the war began, including acts of vandalism and physical attacks, as well as “anti-Israel” demonstrations and gatherings that indirectly support Hamas.
FBI director Christopher Wray testified before Congress in October that this threat is reaching historic levels. According to our statistics, a group representing only 2.4% of the American population is responsible for approximately 60% of all religious-based hate crimes.