newsSchools & Higher Education

Ed Department probing Emory, Columbia, CUNY, UNC, Texas district over alleged Title VI violations

“The perpetrators of antisemitism on Columbia’s campus have not been disciplined,” two business professors at the university told JNS.

U.S. Department of Education. Credit: DC Stock Photography/Shutterstock.
U.S. Department of Education. Credit: DC Stock Photography/Shutterstock.

The U.S. Department of Education announced on Tuesday that it is probing Columbia University, the City University of New York “central office,” Emory University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the North East Independent School District in San Antonio for allegedly violating Title VI in the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The investigations relate to “shared ancestry,” which includes discrimination of Israelis and Jews. The department does not share details of its open investigations, but a listing on its website notes that Columbia and Emory as being probed for alleged Title VI violations based on “national origin discrimination involving religion.”

Laura Diamond, assistant vice president of university communications at Emory University, confirmed to JNS that the Atlanta, Ga. private school received the Title VI complaint from the Education Department and that it intends to respond.

“We are unable to discuss an open investigation,” she told JNS.

Samantha Slater, director of communications for media relations at Columbia University, told JNS that “We’re going to decline comment on a pending investigation.”

Kevin Best, senior director of media relations, at UNC Chapel Hill, told JNS that the public school is aware of a complaint filed with the Education Department “on behalf of Palestinian students.”

He added that the school will cooperate fully with any information requests from the department “and remain committed to promoting a safe and equitable environment to all members of the Carolina community that is free from harassment and discrimination.”

UNC Chapel Hill, which received an “F” grade from the Anti-Defamation League in its recent “report card” on campus antisemitism, was the target of a U.S. Education Department probe for alleged Title VI discrimination for “national origin discrimination involving religion” opened on Dec. 23.

Per a copy of the complaint that the department released, a professor at the public school referred to the existence of the State of Israel as “somewhat ridiculous,” and a speaker at a UNC event said that Zionism is a “cancer” and that “Oct. 7, for many of us from the region, was a beautiful day. It was a day on which we saw … men break out of a concentration camp.”

UNC Chapel Hill was also the target of a Title VI investigation related to alleged religious discrimination in February 2023.

A CUNY spokesperson told JNS that the university “remains committed to protecting members of our community from hatred or bigotry in any form. We will cooperate fully with any investigation.”

There are currently eight open Title VI investigations probing CUNY based on potential violations related to religion.

Aubrey Mika Chancellor, executive director of communications at North East Independent School District, told JNS that the San Antonio district is aware of the complaint. “Since it involves a student, we are not at liberty to discuss details,” she said. “Please keep in mind that this is an investigation. There has been no decision made.”

Two Columbia Business School professors told JNS that the Education Department’s investigation of their employer is necessary.

“Antisemitic protests, threats and violence were a regular part of Columbia University life for more than six months,” Ran Kivetz, a marketing professor at the school, and Awi Federgruen, professor of management and chair of decision, risk and operations, told JNS in a joint statement.

“Columbia faculty members harassed Jewish students, whose tuition pays their salaries,” the two Columbia professors said. “The perpetrators of antisemitism on Columbia’s campus have not been disciplined.”

The duo, which has defended Israel against charges of causing starvation in Gaza, criticized the “inexplicable” decision of Columbia president Minouche Shafik to “appease the Hamas-supporters” by considering demands to boycott Israel.

“She also created a moral equivalency between the campus riots and past protests against apartheid in South Africa,” they said.

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