update deskSchools & Higher Education

UC Santa Barbara, Howard County schools face Title VI investigations

“I do not feel safe on campus,” wrote Tessa Veksler, president of the student body at the California college.

The Henley Gate entrance to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Credit: Ryosuke Yagi/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
The Henley Gate entrance to the University of California, Santa Barbara. Credit: Ryosuke Yagi/Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has announced new complaints under review for potential violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The federal agency revealed on Monday that the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Howard County Public Schools in Ellicott City, Md., would receive investigations for discrimination involving shared ancestry.

In February at UC Santa Barbara, antisemitic posters attacked Tessa Veksler, president of the student body, who is Jewish. “I do not feel safe on campus,” she wrote on social media. Also in February, the school’s multicultural center posted signs stating “Zionists not welcome,” prompting its temporary closure.

UC Santa Barbara reports an average enrollment of 25,000 students in the 2022-23 academic year.

“We are aware of the investigation, and we will work to cooperate with OCR,” Kiki Reyes, media relations manager at UC Santa Barbara, told JNS. “We are committed to supporting our students and to investigating and addressing all reports made to the university.”

Ellicott City is an unincorporated community of nearly 74,000 residents in a county of 330,000, per 2024 statistics. The school district serves nearly 58,000 students through 78 schools.

In 2019, the Howard County Jewish Community Study found 9,100 Jewish households in the county, including 18,700 people.

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