update deskSchools & Higher Education

US Ed Department begins investigating Princeton for antisemitism

The complaint cites incidents such as a protest where students chanted “intifada” and “brick by brick, wall by wall, apartheid has got to fall.”

The campus of Princeton University in New Jersey. Credit: oleg_mit/Pixabay.
The campus of Princeton University in New Jersey. Credit: oleg_mit/Pixabay.

Princeton University in New Jersey faces a Title VI investigation from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, according to the higher-education watchdog group.

Campus Reform editor-in-chief Zachary Marschall filed the complaint, alleging that the school has failed to counter antisemitism, particularly since the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks in southern Israel. Campus Reform has submitted previous complaints to the civil-rights office that have resulted in investigations.

The complaint cites numerous incidents, including an Oct. 25 protest where students chanted “intifada” and “brick by brick, wall by wall, apartheid has got to fall.”

Marschall wrote in his submission to the U.S. Department of Education that “the violent words of these protesters completely disregard the atrocities Hamas has already committed and promises to commit in the future against the people of Israel, including raping, murdering and kidnapping civilians.”

Michael Hotchkiss, assistant vice president for communications at Princeton, confirmed to JNS that the academic institution had received notification of the complaint and was in the process of assessing it.

“Based on our familiarity with events on our campus and other information available to us, we are confident we are in full compliance with the requirements of Title VI,” Hotchkiss told JNS. “Based on the complainant’s published description of the complaint, we know that he is not a member of the university community and that his complaint appears to be premised on chants at protests.”

Hotchkiss pointed to Princeton’s rules about balancing freedom of speech with expressions of hatred, saying that “while disciplinary approaches are not always applicable given the university’s robust commitment to freedom of expression, the university has responded to every complaint of bias against Jewish community members brought to its attention and continues to offer support.”

Other colleges the civil-rights office has named in recent weeks for investigation include Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Hawaii, Manoa in Honolulu; Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, Calif.; and Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash.

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