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‘Abhorrent’ Antisemitic Incidents on Campus Condemned by Education Secretary

Education Secretary Calls Antisemitism on Campuses 'Abhorrent' and 'Unacceptable' (Credits: The New York Times)

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has issued a stern letter to college and university presidents, condemning the recent surge in antisemitic incidents on campus as “abhorrent.” The letter, released on Friday, comes on the heels of President Biden’s address, in which he criticized aspects of the ongoing nationwide protests, including isolated incidents of violence and vandalism.

Cardona’s letter expresses deep concern over reports of antisemitic hate directed at students, including physical assaults, harassment, antisemitic comments, verbal abuse, and swastikas found on dorm room doors. He emphasized that such incidents have no place on college campuses and highlighted the Department of Education’s commitment to providing resources to address the issue.

Cardona condemns ‘abhorrent’ incidents of antisemitism (Credits: KTV)

The Department’s Office for Civil Rights has opened over 100 investigations into complaints of antisemitism and other forms of discrimination under Title VI since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Cardona urged higher education leaders to take action, stating, “These and other such incidents are abhorrent, period… They have no place on our college campuses.”

The letter comes amongst a wave of pro-Palestinian protests and encampments on college campuses, with hundreds of demonstrations occurring recently. While most protests have denounced antisemitism, a few incidents have sparked controversy. For instance, Columbia University banned a student protest leader from campus after he made threatening remarks about Zionists.

The Biden administration has faced mounting pressure to address on-campus antisemitism, with the House approving a bill this week that seeks to crack down on antisemitism by requiring the Education Department to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism when enforcing anti-discrimination laws.

Education secretary condemns ‘abhorrent’ antisemitic incidents on campus (Credits: The Hill)

According to the Anti-Defamation League, there has been an unprecedented rise in antisemitism in the United States since October 7. The demonstrations have disrupted the academic year, with some schools like Columbia moving to hybrid learning to ensure campus safety and others like the University of Southern California canceling commencement events.

Cardona’s letter serves as a call to action for higher education leaders to address the growing concern of antisemitism on campus, emphasizing the need for a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

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