Lawmakers Demand Biden Department Of Education Resolve Campus Antisemitism Investigations

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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A group of bipartisan lawmakers sent a letter to the Department of Education (ED) Tuesday calling on the agency to account for how it plans to bring a swift resolution to growing complaints about antisemitism on college campuses, the Jewish Insider first reported.

Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning of North Carolina, Republican Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, Democratic Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada and Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, who comprise bipartisan task forces that monitors antisemitism in the U.S., headed the letter, according to Jewish Insider. The elected officials commended the department after resolving its investigation into the University of Vermont, which found that the school failed to stop the cyberbullying of Jewish students, but worried about the increasing backlog of cases. (RELATED: Universities To Host Conference Denouncing Antisemitism Definition, ‘Settler Colonial State’ Of Israel)

“While we welcome the Department’s successful resolution of a recent case at the University of Vermont, we encourage the Department to continue to swiftly investigate other pending cases and to continue to enforce federal civil rights laws against antisemitism in all forms,” the letter reads. “We also encourage the Department to undertake concerted efforts to encourage the reporting of antisemitic incidents; despite the increase in complaints to OCR, anti-Jewish incidents remain woefully underreported.”

The department’s Office for Civil Rights received approximately 10,000 complaints of antisemitism on U.S. college campuses in 2019, but in 2022 the agency had received more than 19,000, according to the letter. Threats to Jewish identity on college campuses went from 114 incidents during the 2020-2021 school year to 228 incidents the following year, according to a report from the AMCHA Initiative, a Jewish advocacy organization.

The lawmakers asked the ED to explain how it planned to resolve the backlog of complaints and what additional resources the agency might need to do this in a “timely manner,” according to the letter. The letter also asked the department to lay out its plans to further highlight the best “practices” to fight antisemitism in higher education and how it intends to “help schools, including those that have experienced an increase in antisemitism, improve their processes and procedures for reporting antisemitic incidents on college campuses.”

The letter also urged the department to brief Congress by Sept. 30 on these questions and its strategy to comply with the White House’s U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism that was released in May.

The department confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation that it had received the letter and would review it.

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