update deskSchools & Higher Education

Six more schools, districts under Title VI investigation

The U.S. Education Department is investigating University of Illinois, Drexel, Springfield Public Schools, Chandler Unified District, UC Davis and MIT.

The Lyndon B. Johnson Building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The Lyndon B. Johnson Building, headquarters of the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Education Department announced Title VI investigations of Rutgers University in New Jersey, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Washington-Seattle, Whitman College in Washington, Stanford University in California and the University of California-Los Angeles. 

In recent weeks, the department has announced six more investigations, of University of Illinois-Chicago, Drexel University (Philadelphia), Springfield Public Schools (Ill.), Chandler Unified District (Ariz.), University of California-Davis and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Last month, the department said that Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Columbia University were under investigation.

The institutions are all being probed about alleged “discrimination involving shared ancestry.”

While the department didn’t say what exactly the Philadelphia school was under investigation for, “Drexel president John Fry sent an email to the Drexel community Wednesday afternoon noting the investigation was looking into the school’s response to reported harassment of students on the basis of shared Jewish ancestry, specifically ‘the arson of a door of a suite at Race Street Residence Hall on Oct. 10, 2023,’” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported last week.

ABC 7 Chicago reported that the University of Illinois complaint came from Palestine Legal in 2022, but Charles Cohen, executive director of Metro Chicago Hillel, part of the Jewish United Fund, told the station that there is “an entire climate of isolation of alienation for Jewish students.”

“While there hasn’t been a claim filed against UIC, [from] you know, an antisemitic standpoint, that could change any day,” he added.

In October, UC-Davis condemned a social media post by faculty member Jemma Decristo, who wrote that “Zionist journalists who spread propaganda and misinformation” have “houses with addresses, kids in school” and “they can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more.” Decristo ended “with a knife emoji, followed by a hatchet emoji and three drops of blood emojis,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

MIT was the only one of the three schools whose presidents testified before a House committee that it wouldn’t necessarily violate their policies to call for genocide against Jews, that didn’t yet have an open Title VI investigation.

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