update deskSchools & Higher Education

US investigating USC, UC Davis over potential Title VI violations

The Department of Education has not specified the type of discrimination in which the schools allegedly engaged. 

A gate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Credit: Hanson L./Shutterstock.
A gate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Credit: Hanson L./Shutterstock.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating University of California, Davis and University of Southern California for alleged violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination based on “shared ancestry,” including religion.

USC, a private school, and UC Davis, a public institution, are among the most highly-ranked in the country—both tied for 28th nationally, per U.S. News & World Report.

The Education Department and its Office for Civil Rights do not typically reveal the nature of the allegations against institutions when they release the weekly list of open investigations.

Bill Kisliuk, crisis communications manager at UC Davis, told JNS that the university “is committed to fostering a climate of equity and justice where all can feel welcome and thrive, free of harassment or discrimination.” 

The public school believes its actions “in response to complaints have been consistent with our principles of community and our obligations under federal law,” he said. “The Office of Civil Rights has informed us of its investigation and we are fully cooperating.”

Kisliuk did not say whether the school is being investigated, in full or in part, for antisemitism. A spokeswoman for USC didn’t immediately provide a response.

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