update deskSchools & Higher Education

Title IV investigations into U of M, Youngstown State, Philly school district

A University of Michigan student wrote on Instagram, “Until my last breath, I will utter death to every single individual who supports the Zionist state. Death and more. Death and worse.”

Sports fans exit Michigan Stadium after a University of Michigan football game on Sept. 4, 2021. Credit: Chad Robertson Media/Shutterstock.
Sports fans exit Michigan Stadium after a University of Michigan football game on Sept. 4, 2021. Credit: Chad Robertson Media/Shutterstock.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights named three more educational institutions on Tuesday that would face investigations for potential discrimination involving shared ancestry.

The School District of Philadelphia, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Youngstown State University in Ohio will undergo federal scrutiny in their responses to bigotry at their respective academic institution. The Education Department does not release reasons for its complaints unless forced to by a Freedom of Information Act request.

In January, Philadelphia residents sent a letter to the city’s school board raising alarm about rising harassment experienced by Jewish students. “The board’s and the district’s continued silence in the face of widespread antisemitism is unacceptable. Your students are counting on you to protect them,” the letter stated.

On March 26, the Anti-Defamation League contacted the University of Michigan, sending a letter to its president, Santa J. Ono, regarding two antisemitic incidents. On March 22, a student wrote on Instagram, “Until my last breath, I will utter death to every single individual who supports the Zionist state. Death and more. Death and worse.” 

On March 24, an Honors Convocation concluded early during Ono’s speech due to disruptions by anti-Israel protesters. “What should have been a joyous moment for families and students to celebrate academic achievements was instead turned into a stomach-churning display of anti-Zionist fervor, enabled by the University’s inaction,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO and national director.

“Unfortunately, these two incidents are not outliers,” stated the letter signed by Greenblatt and Carolyn Normandin, regional director for ADL Michigan. “Over the past few months, students on campus—in some instances led by SAFE UMich—have stormed the administration building, run for student government on platforms of intense anti-Zionism, and disrupted classes by marching through the Ross Business School multiple times.”

Zachary Marschall, editor-in-chief of the watchdog group Campus Reform, initiated the investigation against Youngstown, citing multiple antisemitic incidents following the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks by Hanas in Israel. The federal review is the 13th started through his submissions.

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