update deskSchools & Higher Education

Ed Department launches Title VI investigations into Santa Monica College, two school districts

Student concerns about alleged antisemitism in an ethnic-studies course led to one of the complaints.

Santa Monica College in Southern California. Credit: Mr. Gates via Wikimedia Commons.
Santa Monica College in Southern California. Credit: Mr. Gates via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced investigations on Tuesday into claims of discrimination involving shared ancestry at Santa Monica College in California; Evanston Township High School District 202 in Illinois; and Goddard Unified School District 265 in Kansas.

The Office for Civil Rights does not release explanations for the origins of each investigation.

Donald Girard, senior director of government relations and institutional communications at Santa Monica College, told JNS that the school had learned of the investigation on Monday and that, quoting from the complaint, it involved “alleged harassment of students by a professor based on national origin (shared Jewish ancestry).”

He added that the investigation “arises out of concerns expressed about an ethnic-studies class,” pointing to a statement March 10 from superintendent/president Kathryn E. Jeffery.

“The college is confident it met its legal obligations under federal law, and will fully cooperate and respond to the OCR investigation,” said Girard.

Reine Hanna, the interim director of communications for Evanston Township High School District 202, told JNS that “the district is fully cooperating with the Department of Education’s investigation. We do not comment on open investigations.”

JNS contacted Goddard Unified School District 265 and did not receive a response.

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